Shooting Stars

Dodecatheon meadia

Shooting Stars! What a great name! This spring-blooming, perennial plant has a basal rosette of oblong leaves, each about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. In late April and early May, a stalk (or inflorescence) comes up from the center of the rosette and unfurls into a half-dozen or more white or pinkish flowers. The white petals will fully retract to reveal a pointed yellow and brown tube at the the center. The overall effect of the arching structure gives the illusion of movement–hence the name. The flowers look like little rockets, or “shooting stars”.

Shooting star colonies often occur on well-drained slopes.  This collection of photographs was taken in late April, on a steep hillside near Shawsville, Virginia.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Elyse Clark says:

    Have you seen any shooting stars blooming yet this season? I’ve kept an eye out for them, but haven’t seen any yet. Any tips of where to see them around Blacksburg? Thanks!

    1. Gloria says:

      Hi Elyse! I have some on my property, just 5 nice plants and they are in bloom. You are welcome to come see them. Let me know and we can exchange email addresses. Some of the ones pictured here are on private property in Shawsville, so I’m not free to take you there myself. I would be you could find some at Camp Alta Mons, because that is a similar site. Let me know if you want to see mine, because they are in bloom this week.

      1. Elyse Clark says:

        Hi Gloria! Thanks for the suggestion and offer to come view them on your property! I’ll have to swing by Alta Mons sometime this week and see if I can spot any (hopefully they would still be in bloom). Do you think they would be on the steep hillslope along the trail close to the waterfalls? If they’re not there, at least I’ll get to see a beautiful waterfall anyway. Thanks again for the suggestion!

        1. Gloria says:

          I’m not sure where they would be exactly. I’ve seen them on rocky hillsides (south facing?) before the trees leaf out completely.

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