Monday, May 13, 2013

Native Species Profile - Starflower

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)

Starflower (Trientalis borealis) is a low growing late Spring wildflower.  It typically grows in cooler habitats such as moist coniferous and deciduous woods, bogs, and shaded northern slopes.  It seems to prefer slightly acidic soils.  As its name indicates it is found throughout the boreal forest across the North American continent - a subspecies (T. borealis latifolia) is found west of the Rocky mountains.  In the East, remnant habitats in the Appalachians allow the Starflower to grow as far south as northern Georgia.

Starflower - note the seven petals

Starflower reaches a height of only 4 to 8 inches.  It spreads slowly by extending rhizomes.  Each plant has a whorled arrangement of seven leaves. One or two flowers with seven white petals and yellow stamen rise above this whorl.  This arrangement of  seven petals is quite uncommon among flowers.  The plant may flower anytime between May in the South and July in the North.  If conditions remain cool, the plant may retain its blossoms for up to two weeks.

Look for this plant in company with plants such as Bluebead Lily (Clintonia borealis), Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), and Pink Ladyslipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Basic Information

Trientalis borealis

Height:  4-8” tall

Habitat:  moist coniferous woodlands, deciduous woodlands, bogs, shaded slopes

Flower Color:  white

Bloom Time:  May – July

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