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Dodecatheon pulchellum
Dodecatheon pulchellum subspecies pulchellum (Shooting Star)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Montane. Streamsides, wetlands. Summer.
Turkey Springs Trail north of Pagosa Springs, June 26, 2007.

Shooting Star has an exotic flower that attracts the attention of even those who have no interest in flowers.  The magenta, white, and yellow corolla flares back behind the stamen filaments that are united around the protruding style. (See next photographs.)  At the height of flowering a half dozen or more flowers may be open at the same time on each plant and it is common for dozens or even hundreds of plants to line a stream or flow down a moist wooded hillside. 

The pictured plants are in the exact area where the plant was first found in Archuleta County, Colorado, just a few years ago by Ken Heil and Steve O'Kane as they collected for their Flora of the Four Corners.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753, giving it the Greek name for "twelve gods", an allusion to Pliny's name for a Primrose which was thought to be protected by twelve gods.  

The species has undergone many name changes since Constantine Rafinesque first named it Exinia pulchella in 1840 from a specimen collected by Thomas Drummond in the Rockies, probably in the mid-1820s.  Its present name was given by Elmer Merrill in 1948.

Dodecatheon pulchellum
Dodecatheon pulchellum subspecies pulchellum (Shooting Star)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Montane. Streamsides, wetlands. Summer.
Turkey Springs Trail north of Pagosa Springs, June 26, 2007.

Dodecatheon pulchellum
Dodecatheon pulchellum subspecies pulchellum (Shooting Star)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Montane. Streamsides, wetlands. Summer.
Turkey Springs Trail north of Pagosa Springs, June 26, 2007.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Dodecatheon pulchellum