The green links below add additional plants to the comparison table. Blue links lead to other Web sites.
enable glossary links
Dodecatheon conjugens

Bonneville shooting star, desert shootingstar, slim-pod shooting star

primrose family

Habit Plants 5–30(–40) cm; scape usually glabrous, sometimes glandular-puberulent proximally.

not obvious at anthesis;

roots whitish;

bulblets absent.


sometimes inflated (Hottonia).


3–13(–18) × 0.7–2.5(–4) cm;

petiole slender (at least proximally);

blade narrowly oblanceolate to spatulate or obovate, base usually not decurrent onto stem, usually abruptly tapering to petiole, margins entire, surfaces glabrous or glandular-puberulent.

in basal rosettes (cauline and alternate, opposite, or whorled in Hottonia), simple (pinnately compound in Hottonia);

stipules absent;

petiole present or absent;

blade margins entire, denticulate, ciliolate, or crenulate.



bracts lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, 3–10 mm, glandular-puberulent.

terminal, scapose or sessile umbels or solitary flowers;

bracts usually present.


1–5 cm, glabrous or glandular-puberulent.


calyx light green to yellowish, sometimes finely purple-speckled or -dotted, 5–12 mm, glabrous or glandular-puberulent, tube 2–6 mm, lobes 5, 3–7 mm;

corolla tube yellowish with purplish red, thin, wavy ring, lobes 5, usually magenta, sometimes white, 7–25(–35) mm;

filaments usually distinct, yellowish or dark maroon, 0.5–1.5 mm, rarely partially connate and tube 0.5–1.5 × 1.5–5 mm;

anthers 5–9 mm;

pollen sacs usually maroon or yellow, sometimes yellowish and speckled maroon, rarely with reddish purple to purple speckles, connective usually maroon, sometimes yellowish or light blue to whitish, transversely rugose;

stigma not enlarged compared to style.

bisexual, homostylous or heterostylous (Hottonia, Primula);

perianth and androecium hypogynous;

sepals 4–5, connate proximally into tube;

petals 4–5, connate proximally, corolla campanulate to salverform or tubular with long or short tube;

nectaries absent or sometimes nectariferous hairs present;

stamens 5, antipetalous, epipetalous, distinct or connate proximally;

anthers opening by longitudinal slits;

staminodes absent;

pistils 1, 5-carpellate;

ovary superior, 1-locular;

placentation free-central with ± globose central axis;

ovules anatropous, bitegmic, not embedded in placentae, tenuinucellate;

styles 1, terminal;

stigmas 1, usually capitate (rarely truncate).


capsular, dehiscence valvate or operculate.


tan, often striped with purple, usually operculate, rarely valvate, cylindric-ovoid, 8–17(–22) × 4–6(–8) mm, glabrous;

walls thin, pliable.


without membrane along edges.

1–200+, brown or black, angular or rounded, (rarely with eliasomes in some Primula);

embryo straight;

endosperm copious, starchless.


or perennial (rarely biennial) herbs (suffrutescent in some Primula), sometimes somewhat succulent (Androsace), sometimes rhizomatous (Primula), sometimes stoloniferous (Primula), sometimes with glandular hairs producing crystalline substance that forms farinose coating (Primula);

resin canals sometimes present (Hottonia).


= 44.

Dodecatheon conjugens


from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
North America; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies; Eurasia; mainly n temperate to arctic
[BONAP county map]

Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).

Both Dodecatheon conjugens and D. poeticum occur in proximity in the Columbia River gorge. Some specimens here assigned to var. conjugens may have scattered, minute glands on the pedicels that might indicate past hybridization with D. poeticum (e.g., G. N. Jones 6286, ORE; R. R. Halse 3790, OSC, WTU). Dodecatheon poeticum is densely glandular not only on the pedicels, but also on the calyx and scape. The type of minute glandular puberulence seen on var. conjugens found along the Columbia River west of The Dalles is somewhat similar to that seen on var. viscidum in western Montana and Canada. Some plants referred here to D. conjugens have slightly connate filaments that may indicate some intergradation with D. pulchellum var. pulchellum. This suggestion is supported by the tendency in the same plants to have narrower leaves.

Some newly emerged flowers tend to have connectives that are less rugose than normal. This is particularly true of some populations in southern Alberta and, to a lesser degree, in Saskatchewan.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Genera 20, species ca. 600 (5 genera, 52 species in the flora).

The largest genera in Primulaceae are Primula (ca. 500 species) and Androsace (ca. 100 species). No genera are endemic to the flora area; Dodecatheon and Douglasia have relatively few representatives elsewhere (northeastern Asia).

The family contains ornamental taxa, especially in Dodecatheon and Primula. Primula can cause dermatitis. Some taxa are pollinated by insects; selfing also occurs. Seeds are dispersed by gravity, water, wind, or ants (Primula; B. Ståhl and A. A. Anderberg 2004).

As typically described (e.g., A. Cronquist 1981; V. H. Heywood 1978), Primulaceae were clearly polyphyletic, closely related to Myrsinaceae and Theophrastaceae. M. Källersjö et al. (2000) and B. Ståhl and A. A. Anderberg (2004) removed the nonrosette terrestrial members from Primulaceae in the broad sense and placed them in the Myrsinaceae, which are further distinguished by leaves and calyx often dotted with yellow or dark streaks, flowers with relatively shorter corolla tubes, seeds immersed in placentae, and wood devoid of rays or with multiseriate rays only. Maesa, consisting entirely of trees found in the Eastern Hemisphere tropics, also has semi-inferior ovaries, pedicels with two bracts, and wood with both uniseriate and multiseriate rays; it, too, was removed from Primulaceae/Myrsinaceae and placed in its own family (Källersjö et al.). The families Primulaceae in the narrow sense, Myrsinaceae, Theophrastaceae (including Samolaceae), and Maesaceae then form a monophyletic clade within Ericales (P. F. Stevens,, sharing some features, most notably flowers with sympetalous corollas, stamens in a single series and opposite the petals, free-central placentation, bitegmic, tenuinucellate ovules, and plants generally with tannins and saponins.

Additional evidence (L. Martins et al. 2003) indicates that Androsace and Primula may not be monophyletic; more work is needed to resolve these issues. The work of M. Källersjö et al. (2000) showed that Douglasia should remain separate from Androsace, and Dodecatheon should remain separate from Primula, although Dodecatheon clearly is derived from Primula subg. Auriculastrum. Alternative views suggesting more inclusive concepts of Primula and Androsace have been offered by I. Trift et al. (2002), A. R. Mast et al. (2004), and G. M. Schneeweiss et al. (2004). The phylogenetic position of Cyclamen, a scapose taxon currently included in Myrsinaceae, has not been resolved. Our understanding of Primulaceae is still in flux, and future taxonomic realignments at the familial and generic levels are to be expected.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Leaf blades, scapes, and pedicels glabrous.
var. conjugens
1. Leaf blades, scapes proximally, and pedicels usually glandular-puberulent.
var. viscidum
1. Leaves pinnately compound.
1. Leaves simple
→ 2
2. Corolla lobes reflexed, lengths 2+ times tube; stamens exserted, anthers connivent.
2. Corolla lobes not reflexed, lengths to 2 times tube; stamens included, anthers not connivent
→ 3
3. Sepals keeled (at least on tubes), glabrous or stellate-hairy; corollas pink, rose, or purple; plants usually perennial, cushion- or mat-forming
3. Sepals not keeled or only weakly keeled in fruit, glabrous, pilose, or puberulent; corollas lavender, magenta, pink, purple, rose, violet, white, or yellow; plants annual, biennial, or perennial, usually not cushion- or mat-forming
→ 4
4. Corollas white, fading to pink, (usually to 5 mm, if 5+ mm, plants hairy); flowers homostylous.
4. Corollas lavender, magenta, pink, purple, rose, violet, yellow, or some- times white, (7+ mm, plants never grayish-pilose); flowers heterostylous or homostylous.
Source FNA vol. 8, p. 271. FNA vol. 8, p. 257. Authors: Anita F. Cholewa, Sylvia Kelso.
Parent taxa Primulaceae > Dodecatheon
Sibling taxa
D. alpinum, D. amethystinum, D. austrofrigidum, D. clevelandii, D. dentatum, D. ellisiae, D. frenchii, D. frigidum, D. hendersonii, D. jeffreyi, D. meadia, D. poeticum, D. pulchellum, D. redolens, D. subalpinum, D. utahense
Subordinate taxa
D. conjugens var. conjugens, D. conjugens var. viscidum
Androsace, Dodecatheon, Douglasia, Hottonia, Primula
Synonyms Primula conjugens
Name authority Greene: Erythea 3: 40. (1895) Batsch ex Borkhausen
Web links