Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Dodecatheon Sp. - Shootingstar

Family: Primulaceae [E-flora]

Local Species;

  1. Dodecatheon hendersonii - broad-leaved shootingstar [E-flora]
  2. Dodecatheon jeffreyi - Jeffrey's shootingstar [E-flora]
  3. Dodecatheon pulchellum - few-flowered shootingstar [E-flora]


Dodecatheon hendersonii - broad-leaved shootingstar

Subtaxa Present in B.C.

"Dodecatheon hendersonii is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in). It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from March to July, in flower from April to June, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]

"General: Plants fibrous-rooted; roots usually whitish; small rice-like bulblets present at base of plant." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Stems: Scapes 15-30 (50) cm tall, glabrous to distally glandular." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Leaves: Leaves ovate to nearly rounded (sometimes oblanceolate), tapering abruptly to the narrowly winged petiole, entire, glabrous, 3-14 cm." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Flowers: Inflorescences of 2-17 flowers; involucral bracts lanceolate, usually glabrous, 3-15 mm. Flowers long-stalked; corolla tube and throat yellow or whitish with a thick, red, wavy ring around the throat; corolla lobes pink to lavender (rarely white), 6-25 (28) mm; pollen sacs dark red or reddish-purple (sometimes yellow or yellow with dark speckles); calyces green, purple-speckled, glabrous or glandular-puberulent, 5-10 mm; filaments connate, dark reddish-purple; connective dark reddish-purple to blackish, transversely rugose; stigma not enlarged relative the style; pedicels 2-7 cm long, glabrous or glandular. Flowering Mar-May." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Fruits: Capsules green to reddish or purplish, cylindrical, glabrous or glandular-puberulent, circumcissile or 5-valvate, 7-17 (19) mm." [VFBC-E-flora]

"This species, with its flattened rosettes of broadly ovate leaves and rice-like bulblets at the base of the plant, is easily identified within its very limited provincial distribution. It commonly occurs within the forest understory in dry or mesic upland habitats, which is unlike other co-occurring species of Dodecatheon (other species are largely restricted to meadows, estuaries, and other open, moist habitats). D. hendersonii var. hendersonii is a major component of the spectacular early spring wildflower bloom within its range, blooming in abundance alongside species such as Lomatium utriculatum, Erythronium oregonum ssp. oregonum, and a variety of Claytonia species. Where the two species occur together on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, D. hendersonii typically blooms several weeks earlier than D. pulchellum var. macrocarpum." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Mesic to dry meadows, Garry Oak woodlands, open coniferous forests, and rock outcrops in the lowland zone. Locally common in extreme sw BC (s Vancouver I., Gulf Is.); south to CA." [VFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information

"A shade-tolerant/intolerant, sub montane to montane, Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-rich soils. Sporadic in open-canopy forests on water-shedding sites, or in meadow-like communities where early spring moisture is followed by mid-summer drought. Occasionally inhabits water-receiving sites (vernal springs). Its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude, elevation, precipitation, and continentality. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms." [IPBC-E-flora]

Edible Uses

Cultivation & Propagation

" Prefers a moist, rich, well-drained soil and some shade[1, 175]. Prefers woodland conditions or a cool moist shady border[111, 200]. Plants prefer a dry period when dormant in the summer[188]."

"Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[175, 200]. A short period of cold stratification may improve the germination of stored seed which should be sown in spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 12 months at 15oc[175]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in March or September. Autumn is best[1]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring." [PFAF]


Dodecatheon jeffreyi - Jeffrey's shootingstar

Subtaxa Present in B.C.

"General: Plants fibrous-rooted; roots whitish; bulblets absent." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Stems: Scapes glandular-pubescent, 10-69 (75) cm." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Leaves: Leaves narrowly oblanceolate to spatulate, base tapering gradually to the short broadly-winged petiole, entire (rarely slightly toothed), glandular-pubescent (rarely glabrous), 7-40 (53) cm." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Flowers: Inflorescences of 3-20 flowers; involucral bracts lanceolate, glandular-pubescent, 3-17 mm. Flowers long-stalked; corolla tube whitish (rarely yellow), usually with a thin to thick, red, wavy ring around the throat; corolla lobes pink to magenta (rarely whitish or yellowish), 10-25 (27) mm; calyces green, usually glandular-puberulent, (rarely glabrous), 7-12 (15) mm; pollen sacs yellow to reddish-purple; filaments distinct or partially connate, dark reddish-purple to black; connective purplish, transversely rugose; stigma greatly enlarged and knob-like; pedicels 2-7 cm, usually glandular-pubescent (rarely glabrous). Flowering May-Jul (to Aug at high elevations)." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Fruits: Capsules tan to reddish-brown, ovoid, glabrous or sometimes sparsely glandular-puberulent, circumcissile or sometimes 5-valvate, 7-11 (15) mm." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Wet to moist meadows, streambanks, shorelines, fens, and bogs in the lowland, montane, and subalpine zones. Frequent in coastal BC; AK south to CA, ID, MT." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Additional Notes This is the only species of Dodecatheon to occur regularly in coastal bogs, where it often grows at the edges of pools or slowly flowing streams. Although some other members of the genus may show a slight thickening of the stigma relative to the style, only in D. jeffreyi is the stigma greatly enlarged and knob-like. D. jeffreyi often grows alongside D. pulchellum var. macrocarpum, from which it can be easily distinguished by its wholly blackish or blackish-purple filaments and anthers and its usually whitish corolla throat (filaments yellowish, anthers variably blackish-purple to yellowish or whitish, and corolla throat usually yellowish in D. pulchellum). It is further distinguished from D. pulchellum var. macrocarpum by its usually glandular (vs. glabrous) upper scape, pedicels, and calyces." [VFBC-E-flora]


Dodecatheon pulchellum - few-flowered shootingstar

Subtaxa Present in B.C.

"General: Plants fibrous-rooted; roots whitish; bulblets not present." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Stems: Scapes 10-45 (60) cm, glabrous to glandular-pubescent." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Leaves: Leaves oblanceolate or spatulate to ovate, tapering gradually to the short broadly-winged petiole, entire (rarely slightly toothed), glabrous to glandular-pubescent, 4-25 cm." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Flowers: Inflorescences of 2-15 (22) flowers; involucral bracts lanceolate, 3-15 mm, glabrous to glandular-pubescent. Flowers long-stalked; pedicels 1-5 (7) cm, glabrous to glandular-pubescent; corolla tube and throat yellow (fading to white), with thin, red, wavy ring around the throat; corolla lobes pink to magenta (rarely white), (5) 7-20 mm; filaments connate, yellow (rarely tinged with pink); connective smooth, yellowish to reddish-purple; pollen sacs dark reddish-purple or reddish to partially or completely yellow; stigma not enlarged relative to the style; calyx green, usually speckled with purple, glabrous to glandular-pubescent, 4-8 mm. Flowering Apr-Jun (to Jul at high elevations)." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Fruits: Capsules tan, cylindric-ovoid, 5-14 (20) mm, glabrous to glandular-pubescent, opening by 5 valves." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Mesic to wet meadows, estuaries, seeps, bluffs, coastal headlands, cliffs, slopes, streambanks, marshes, grasslands, sagebrush steppe, and saline or alkaline flats in the lowland, steppe, montane, subalpine, and alpine zones. Frequent in coastal BC, common in sc and se BC; AK east to NWT, south to n Mexico." [VFBC-E-flora]

Additional Notes: "This is the most widespread and variable species of Dodecatheon in B.C., and the only member of the genus with multiple infraspecific taxa in the province. There is great variation in many morphological features in this species, much of which is environmentally induced, which can render some specimens difficult to place within the existing infraspecific framework. Fortunately, however, the three varieties overlap in distribution only locally (var. cusickii and var. pulchellum overlap in southeastern B.C.) and, where they overlap, the vast majority of specimens maintain their distinguishing characteristics and are easily identified. The three varieties that are recognized for B.C." [VFBC-E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information

"A very shade-intolerant. submontane to subalpine, North American forb distributed in the Pacific, Cordilleran, and Central regions. Occurs on moderately dry to fresh circumneutral to weakly alkaline, nitrogen-rich soils within alpine tundra, boreal, temperate, cool semiarid, and cool mesothermal climates. Scattered on water-shedding sites, occasional on water-receiving sites (vernal springs). Often found in meadow-like communities where early spring moisture is followed by mid­summer drought. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms." (Information applies to coastal locations only) [IPBC-E-flora]


Page last modified on Thursday, July 1, 2021 10:04 PM