This ephemeral spring beauty will take center stage in your garden each spring. It emerges as a small clump of fleshy, oval leaves followed by a slim, leafless stalk that becomes a pedestal for its exceptionally showy floral display. True to its name, the flowers are nodding clusters of recurved magenta petals that point to the sky like shooting stars, with black anthers hanging low. After its bloom, it dies back to the ground completely, until it steals your heart again next year.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 0-1' high, 0-1' wide
- Light requirements: full sun, part sun/part shade
- Moisture requirements: dry soil (seasonal wetness ok)
- Bloom time: March - June
- Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: attracts and supports solitary bees and native bumble bees, the later of which can vibrate the flowers, aka “buzz-pollinate” while they are collecting pollen for their young, also attracts and supports beneficial insects and other pest eating insects and is a, caterpillar host plant and larval food source.
- Native habitat/range: Locally common in meadows, grasslands, oak and conifer woodland openings and edges and vernal wet areas west of the Cascades in northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern Vancouver Island at low to mid-elevations (up to 2000m). Portland Plant List - yes.
Gardening with Broad-leaved Shooting Star: This bulb is generally easy to grow provided it's in the right place. It prefers well-drained soil and part sun/part shade but is tolerant of full sun. A true Oregonian, it tolerates seasonally wet soils but wants to dry out in the summertime, making it a good fit for a partially sunny raingarden, pollinator garden, rock garden, or meadowscape. Do note, it's relatively small and ephemeral, only peaking out to explode into it’s oh-so-striking glory for a blip before hiding underground until next year. So, be sure to place this front and center, where you’ll enjoy every moment of it’s spectacular bloom. Slugs have a special radar for seeking out the succulent leaves of this beauty. So placing it in clear sight will help you know when to embark on head-lamp clad nighttime slug hunts, pull out the beer traps, or eventually resort to an OMRI certified iron phosphate product.
Photo Credit 1, 2: Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants
Photo Credit 3: "Primula (Dodecatheon) hendersonii" by John Game is licensed under CC BY 2.0