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

darkthroat shooting star, few-flower shootingstar

Jeffrey's shooting star, Sierra shootingstar, tall mountain shooting star

Habit Plants (2–)10–45(–60) cm; scape usually glabrous, sometimes glandular-pubescent or -puberulent. Plants 10–60(–75) cm; scape glandular-pubescent at least in part, not sticky.

not obvious at anthesis;

roots white;

bulblets absent.

not obvious at anthesis or usually horizontal, relatively short and thick or elongate and slender;

roots usually white;

bulblets absent.


(2–)4–25(–48) × 0.3–6(–8.5) cm;

petiole ± winged, sometimes wingless near base;

blade oblanceolate to spatulate or ovate to nearly oval, base decurrent onto stem, usually gradually tapering to petiole, margins usually entire, rarely slightly toothed, sometimes undulate, surfaces glabrous or glandular-pubescent.

(2.5–)7–40(–53) × (0.5–)1–6(–7.5) cm;

petiole winged;

blade narrowly oblanceolate or oblanceolate to spatulate, base decurrent onto stem, usually gradually tapering to petiole, margins entire or crenate to serrulate, surfaces glabrous or glandular-pubescent.



bracts lanceolate, 2–15 mm, glabrous or glandular-pubescent or -puberulent.


bracts lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, 3–17 mm, glandular-pubescent.


(0.7–)1–5(–7) cm, glabrous or glandular-pubescent or -puberulent.

2–7 cm, usually glandular-pubescent, rarely glabrous.


calyx green, usually purple-flecked, 4–8 mm, glabrous or glandular-pubescent or -puberulent, tube 1.5–4 mm, lobes 5, 1–6 mm;

corolla tube maroon or yellow (fading to white) with reddish to magenta, thin, wavy ring, ring rarely absent, lobes 5, usually magenta to lavender, rarely white, (5–)7–20 mm;

filaments connate, tube yellow or maroon to dark purple or black, 0.7–3.6 × 1–3 mm;

anthers 3–8.5 mm;

pollen sacs dark maroon to black (at least apically) or yellow (at least apically), usually with some pink, reddish, or maroon speckles or lines dorsally, connective maroon to black or yellow, smooth or longitudinally wrinkled;

stigma not enlarged compared to style.

calyx green, 7–12(–15) mm, usually glandular-pubescent, rarely glabrous, tube 2–4 mm, lobes 4–5, 4.5–8(–12) mm;

corolla tube cream or (rarely) yellow with reddish to purplish, thin to thick, often wavy ring, ring rarely absent, lobes 4–5, magenta to lavender or light yellow to whitish, 10–25(–27) mm;

filaments distinct or partially connate, dark maroon to black, usually 1–1.5 mm;

anthers 6.5–11 mm, (apex truncate to obtuse);

pollen sacs yellow or maroon, connective purplish, transversely rugose;

stigma enlarged, diam. no more than 2 times style.


tan to light brown, often reddish brown apically, sometimes speckled with red or maroon, valvate, cylindric-ovoid, 5–14(–20) × 3–5(–7) mm, glabrous or glandular-pubescent;

walls thin, pliable.

yellowish tan to reddish brown, operculate or sometimes valvate, sometimes both on same plant, ovoid, 7–11(–15) × 4.5–7(–10) mm, glabrous or teeth sometimes sparsely glandular-puberulent;

walls thin, pliable.


without membrane along edges.

with thin membrane along edges.


= 42, 44, 66, 86.

Dodecatheon pulchellum

Dodecatheon jeffreyi

Phenology Flowering summer.
Habitat Dry to moist stream banks, lake shores, bogs, slopes, and meadows mainly in montane conifer woodlands
Elevation 0-3000 m (0-9800 ft)
from FNA
AK; AZ; CA; CO; ID; MT; ND; NE; NM; NV; OR; SD; UT; WA; WY; AB; BC; MB; NT; SK; YT; nw Mexico
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Varieties 7 (7 in the flora).

The variation within Dodecatheon pulchellum is substantial and, for the most part, each of the entities recognized here seems distinct although nearly all break down in one or more features; most seem to have intergraded with other entities in the past. Variety pulchellum is the most widespread and remains, even as treated here, quite variable. The depauperate, often uniflorous, high-elevation form, var. watsonii, is included in var. pulchellum; there is no difference except in overall size even on the East Humboldt and Ruby mountains of northeastern Nevada, the type location of var. watsonii. Widely disjunct populations assigned to var. monanthum remain problematic. The plants of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon differ only slightly from those found elsewhere in Oregon, including the Blue Mountains, where the type of var. monanthum was obtained. The southern Utah expression, while similar morphologically, displays a biogeographic pattern that is unique. A better understanding of the variation between the western and eastern phases of var. monanthum is needed.

The coastal var. macrocarpum has consistent morphological differences and a higher ploidy level (2n = 88, 132) compared with the more inland var. pulchellum (2n = 44). Whether or not the ploidy level difference is consistent remains to be shown.

The arid forms of Dodecatheon pulchellum exhibit remarkable morphological differences that require recognition (J. L. Reveal 2005). Hanging garden plants in Utah are recognized as var. zionense, following N. H. Holmgren (2005). Some populations assigned to this variety may ultimately prove to be merely large-leaved plants of either var. pulchellum or the Utah phase of var. monanthum. Zion shootingstar may owe both its large leaves and its glandular-puberulent pedicels and calyces to hybridization with D. redolens sometime in its evolutionary past, even though the latter taxon is no longer close geographically. Variety shoshonense, usually growing in moist, alkaline meadows, is found mainly in the northern Mojave Desert and the Intermountain West. The color pattern associated with the stamens differs from most other varieties of the species, suggesting a fundamental change associated with pollination and likely a closer relationship to var. cusickii (which also has yellow pollen sacs) than to var. pulchellum.

This taxon inadvertently was named Dodecatheon puberulum (Nuttall) Nuttall three years before the establishment of Exinia pulchella. To avoid nomenclatural disruptions, the basionym D. meadia var. puberulum Nuttall has been proposed for rejection (J. L. Reveal and K. N. Gandhi 2008).

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

Dodecatheon jeffreyi is found in montane places in the Sierra Nevada of California and western Nevada and on the northern coastal ranges and Siskiyou Mountains of northern California and southwestern Oregon. It occurs in the Cascade Ranges of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia northward to the Kenai Peninsula region of south-central Alaska, often near the coast and especially on the off-shore islands. It is also widely scattered in the mountains of northeastern Oregon, central and northern Idaho, and western Montana, with isolated stations on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. A single collection (J. Major 2927, GTNP) from Moose Basin, Grand Teton National Park, is the only record from Wyoming.

Dodecatheon jeffreyi is usually readily recognized; in portions of California, the delimitation of it from both D. alpinum and D. redolens can be somewhat arbitrary. Whether this is a breakdown of species boundaries due to hybridization or a shift in their respective morphologies due to overlapping ecological settings is uncertain. In some instances, intermediate plants seem to occur in areas where two of the species occur in proximity. In general, the corolla tube of D. jeffreyi is white except near the ring, where it is yellow. In D. redolens, the entire corolla tube is yellow.

This species is known universally as Dodecatheon jeffreyi, although it was named a year earlier as D. jeffreyanum K. Koch. To avoid the introduction of a name that has never been used for this widespread and sometimes cultivated plant, D. jeffreyanum has been proposed for rejection (J. F. Veldkamp et al. 2008).

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

1. Pollen sacs usually maroon to black, if yellow, plants of the Great Plains in Canada or in the Colorado River basin with relatively large leaves and minutely glandular pedicels and calyces
→ 2
1. Pollen sacs usually yellow, at least apically; usually not of the Great Plains in Canada or if in the Colorado River basin then pedicels and calyces not minutely glandular
→ 4
2. Filament tubes usually maroon to black, sometimes yellow basally.
var. monanthum
2. Filament tubes yellow, sometimes yellow basally and maroon distally
→ 3
3. Leaves (3-)4-17(-25) × 0.5-2.5(-4.5) cm; pedicels and calyces usually glabrous; common.
var. pulchellum
3. Leaves (8-)10-48 × 1.5-8.5 cm; pedicels and calyces minutely glandular; rare.
var. zionense
4. Plants glabrous
→ 5
4. Plants glandular, glandular-puberulent, or glandular-pubescent
→ 6
5. Anthers (4.5-)5-8.5 mm; leaves (3-)5-20(-35) × (0.5-)1.5-5 cm, blade elliptic or narrowly ovate to ovate; corolla tubes yellow; pollen sacs with pink to maroon speckles or lines abaxially; coastal or inland coastal montane regions and adjacent eastern valleys.
var. macrocarpum
5. Anthers 3.5-5 mm; leaves 4-15(-22) × 0.5-3.5 cm, blade oblanceolate to elliptic or spatulate; corolla tubes yellow or white; pollen sacs yellow (not speckled or lined); moist, inland, alkaline meadows.
var. shoshonense
6. Plants sparsely glandular-puberulent; pedicels and calyces usually glandular, sometimes sparsely glandular-puberulent; wc South Dakota and ne Wyoming.
var. distolum
6. Plants densely glandular-pubescent or -puberulent; pedicels and calyces usually densely glandular, sometimes glandular-puberulent; s British Columbia s to Oregon, e to w Montana and nw Wyoming
var. cusickii
Source FNA vol. 8, p. 279. FNA vol. 8, p. 276.
Parent taxa Primulaceae > Dodecatheon Primulaceae > Dodecatheon
Sibling taxa
D. alpinum, D. amethystinum, D. austrofrigidum, D. clevelandii, D. conjugens, D. dentatum, D. ellisiae, D. frenchii, D. frigidum, D. hendersonii, D. jeffreyi, D. meadia, D. poeticum, D. redolens, D. subalpinum, D. utahense
D. alpinum, D. amethystinum, D. austrofrigidum, D. clevelandii, D. conjugens, D. dentatum, D. ellisiae, D. frenchii, D. frigidum, D. hendersonii, D. meadia, D. poeticum, D. pulchellum, D. redolens, D. subalpinum, D. utahense
Subordinate taxa
D. pulchellum var. cusickii, D. pulchellum var. distolum, D. pulchellum var. macrocarpum, D. pulchellum var. monanthum, D. pulchellum var. pulchellum, D. pulchellum var. shoshonense, D. pulchellum var. zionense
Synonyms Exinia pulchella D. jeffreyi subsp. pygmaeum, Primula jeffreyi
Name authority (Rafinesque) Merrill: J. Arnold Arbor. 29: 212. (1948) Van Houtte: Ann. Gén. Hort. 16: 99, plate 1662. 1867 ,
Web links