Shooting Star

Photo of shooting star flowers
Scientific Name
Dodecatheon meadia
Primulaceae (primroses)

A whorl of basal leaves gives rise to a long stalk; at its tip arise several smaller, drooping stalks, each of which bears a single flower. Flowers with 5 petallike, large lobes recurved upward. Stamens and pistil protrude downward from tube, giving the “shooting star” appearance. Color pink, white, or purplish. Blooms April–June. Leaves basal, long-ovate to spatula-shaped, narrowed toward base, the midrib often tinted red. Plants and flowers on prairies are much more robust and larger than those growing on glades.


Height: to 2 feet.

Where To Find
image of Shooting Star distribution map

Nearly statewide; absent or uncommon in the northwestern quarter and in the far southeastern counties.

Occurs in prairies, glades, bluffs, and open wooded slopes. Plants are often seen in woods, but this plant does not flower well in shaded areas. The fragrance of the flowers is something like the odor of grape juice, and the roots are said to smell something like canned corned beef.

At least one cultivated variety has been developed with larger flowers and taller flowering stalks. If you are wanting to grow shooting stars in your garden, please make sure you get them from an ethical nursery that doesn’t dig plants from the wild or buy from any suppliers who do.

This plant is pollinated by certain types of bees that are able to collect pollen from the oddly shaped flowers. After this plant has flowered and produced seeds, the foliage withers in summer and the plant goes dormant until next spring.

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Similar Species

Where to See Species

Sentinel Conservation Area is in Polk County. Sentinel Conservation Area was acquired in part through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act administered by the U.S.
Clifty Creek Conservation Area and Clifty Creek Natural Area are adjacent to one another and combined offer the public 486 acres in Maries County to enjoy.
The once vast prairies that covered as much as 15,000,000 acres of Missouri had diminished to just a few hundred thousand acres by the mid-1970’s.  The prairies inherited by the early set
About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!