My five Shooting Star plants are blooming this week, which means you’ll probably start finding them in Southwest Virginia in the weeks ahead. This perennial plant is made up of a rosette of oblong leaves, each about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. A stalk (or inflorescence) comes up from the center of the rosette in April and unfurls into a half-dozen or more white or pinkish flowers. The white petals retract to reveal a pointed yellow and brown tube at the the center. The overall effect of this structure is the illusion of movement: the flowers look like little rockets, or “shooting stars”.
Shooting star colonies often occur on well-drained slopes. This collection of photographs was taken on a rainy day in late April, on a steep hillside near Shawsville, Virginia.