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Shooting Star, Prairie Pointers, Eastern Shooting Star, Pride of Ohio, Roosterheads - Dodecatheon meadia


Family: Primulaceae - Primrose family Genus Common Name: Shooting Star Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Dodecatheon meadia - Shooting Star, Prairie Pointers, Eastern Shooting Star, Pride of Ohio, Roosterheads. Dodecatheon is a genus of 15 to 17 species of North America, northern Mexico, and far eastern Russia, unless you subscribe to the recent move to include Dodecatheon within Primula (Primrose). I am leaving Dodecatheon as a separate genus from Primula on USWildflowers.com for now, since a more widely circumscribed Primula will be polyphyletic, and therefore likely to change in the future. Also by moving them to the Primrose genus we lose the genus-level “Shooting Star” name, probably more pertinent to an amateur like myself than the scientific classification. An accepted synonym is Primula meadia.

Most of the Dodecatheon species are found in the western half of the United States, with only D. amethystinum, D. frenchii and the species presented here, D. meadia, being found east of the Mississippi River. The range of the much more widely distributed D. meadia completely overlaps the range of those other two species, and is found in forests, prairies, and cliffs of 26 eastern and midwestern states, blooming from spring through early summer. It is not known in New England.

Found in:
AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV, GS
Dodecatheon meadia

Distribution of Dodecatheon meadia in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 26 Apr 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: White Oak Sinks Trail, GSMNP, Blount County, TN Date: 2016-April-20Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
While the flower of Dodecatheon meadia starts with petals drooping from the usually recurved pedicel, they become sharply reflexed as the blossom matures, exposing the stamens and the opening to the maroon and yellow corolla tube. Dodecatheon is the only member of the Primulaceae family with reflexed corolla lobes. The light green, glabrous calyx lobes are not keeled; some members of Primula (where some authorities place Dodecatheon species) have weakly keeled calyx lobes.
Dodecatheon meadia

Site: Walker County, TN Date: 2015-April-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The petals of Dodecatheon meadia range from white to pink, lavender and magenta. Most populations in the southern part of the range have smaller flowers with white petals; most population in the northern parts of the range are lavender to magenta with slightly larger petals. Many of those with white petals with have pink or magenta tinges on them.

This is a photo of a cultivated specimen purchased at a local native plant sale.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Dodecatheon meadia

Site: White Oak Sinks Trail, GSMNP, Blount County, TN Date: 2016-April-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The inflorescence Dodecatheon meadia is a terminal umbel of up to 125 flowers. Each flowers is carried on a pedicel of up to 3 inches long, which is usually recurved so that the flowers droop downward. When the petals recurve upward, exposing the connivent stamens, the flower reveals the source of the common name Shooting Star.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Dodecatheon meadia

Site: White Oak Sinks Trail, GSMNP, Blount County, TN Date: 2016-April-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The Eastern Shooting Star grows to be up to nearly 2 feet tall, with leaves in a basal rosette below the naked, mostly glabrous floral scape.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Dodecatheon meadia

Site: White Oak Sinks Trail, GSMNP, Blount County, TN Date: 2016-April-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves are basal, and are oblanceolate, oblong, or spatulate. The usually glabrous, medium green blade narrows to a winged petiole, which is decurrent onto the stem. While usually entire, the margins of the leaf are sometimes coarsely toothed.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Dodecatheon meadia

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer