Dodecatheon pulchellum - Few-flowered Shooting Star

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Primulales - Family: Primulaceae

Shooting Star in Rocky mountain National Park

Dodecatheon pulchellum flowering beside the Big Thompson River in Rocky Mountain National Park

This lovely wildflower closely resembles the cyclamen (because they both have reflexed petals) with which we are more familiar in Europe. It is a member of the Primrose family, although it does not appear to bear much resemblance to other kinds of primroses - but then neither do cyclamen, which are members of the same family.

The flowers have a pointed centre-part comprising fused stamens. Pollinating insects must force their tongues into the centre of the stamens in order to find the nectar, which is their reward for such hard work. Once pollinated, the flowers change their drooping habit and point upwards.

Distribution

The range of this lovely wildflower is throughout the western mountains of North America, and we have seen it in both Yellowstone National Park and in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Habitat and Blooming Times

Few-flowered Shooting Star blooms from June until September; it grows in damp meadows, and partcularly along stream banks.

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park in late August .