Henderson’s shooting star

Dodecatheon hendersonii

APPEARANCE

Also known as the magenta shooting star, this plant has broad, thick green leaves all joined to the same spot at the base of the plant. The flowers grow on long stems. They look like pink shooting stars, with five long petals swept back from the white center. Some say the flowers smell spicy. The plant grows to about 40 centimetres tall.

RANGE & HABITAT

Henderson’s shooting star is only found on southeast Vancouver Island but it also grows along the coast from Washington to California. It loves to grow in meadows and open woods, and often in rocky and warm areas. In B.C. this plant is found in the Georgia Depression ecoprovince.

LIFE CYCLE

The plant flowers in the spring and early summer. Then the flowers turn into seed capsules full of tiny black seeds.

ANIMAL USES

Shooting star is not an important food plant for animals but some, like deer, will graze on it. Bees really like it and are an important pollinator for the plant.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

Shooting stars are a major plant in the garry oak meadows of southern Vancouver Island. These meadows were used by First Nations for harvesting other plant bulbs. The First Nations kept the large plants from taking over the meadows by burning them regularly. These burns also encouraged shooting stars, camas and other wildflowers to grow.

MODERN USES

Many gardeners plant shooting stars in dry areas because they are a beautiful garden flower.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

Henderson’s Shooting Star Fact Sheet

Photo: Patenaude