Dodecatheon Species – Learn About Different Shooting Star Plants

Purple Flowered Shooting Start Plant
shooting star variety
(Image credit: AlessandraRC)

Shooting star is a lovely native North American wildflower that is not just restricted to wild meadows. You can grow it in your perennial beds and it makes a great choice for native gardens. There are many different shooting star varieties to choose from to add stunning colors to your native and wildflower beds.

About Shooting Star Plants

Shooting star gets its name from the way the flowers hang from tall stems, pointing downward like falling stars. The Latin name is Dodecatheon meadia, and this wildflower is native to the Great Plains states, Texas, parts of the Midwest, and Canada. It is rarely seen in the Appalachian Mountains and northern Florida.

This flower is most often seen in prairies and meadows. It has smooth, green leaves with upright stems that grow to 24 inches (61 cm.). Flowers nod from the tops of the stems, and there are between two and six stems per plant. The flowers are usually pink to white, but there are many different Dodecatheon species now cultivated for the home garden with more variation.

Types of Shooting Star

This is a beautiful flower for any type of garden, but it is especially desirable in native plant beds. Here are some examples of the many different kinds of Dodecatheon now available to the home gardener:

  • Dodecatheon meadia album – This cultivar of the native species produces striking, snow-white blooms.
  • Dodecatheon jeffreyi – Among the different shooting star plants are species that are native to other areas. Jeffrey’s shooting star is found in western states up to Alaska and produces hairy, dark stems and pinkish purple flowers.
  • Dodecatheon frigidum – This pretty species of Dodecatheon has magenta stems to match its magenta flowers. Dark purple stamens contrast the petals and stems.
  • Dodecatheon hendersonii – Henderson’s shooting star is more delicate than other types of shooting star. Its deep magenta flowers stand out, though, as do the yellow collars on each bloom.
  • Dodecatheon pulchellum – This type has purple flowers with striking yellow noses and red stems.

Shooting star is a great plant to start with when planning a meadow garden or a native plant bed. With the multiple varieties, you can choose from a range of traits that will add visual interest to your final design.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.