Starflower Plant Profile

The Starflower or the Trientalis borealis is considered a North American woodland perennial. This plant can group up to nine inches tall. It is in the family Myrsinaceae or prim rose family. 

The flowers are small and as the names suggests they are star shaped. They grow on top of a thin stalk that is located above the lanceolate leaves (leaves that are lance shaped). There are one or two  blooms on each plant. They have seven petals .In fact this particular Starflower is unique in that it has seven leaves, seven petals, and seven sepals.

The best time to locate the Starflower blossoms is between the months of May and June. They can be found in cool woody areas, high hillside slopes and in peaty soil. They grow from four to eight inches in height  and the small flower is around one half inch across the top.

There are four states at the present time where the Starflower is considered either endangered or threatened. They are as follows.

Endangered- the northern starflower is considered endangered in the state of Kentucky.

Endangered- the northern starflower is considered endangered in the state of Georgia.

Threatened- the star flower is considered threatened in the state of Illinois.

Threatened- the northern starflower is considered threatened in the state of Tennessee.

There is a second plant in the Primulaceaw family that is also know as the Starflower. It’s scientific classification is Trientalis europaea and it is sometimes known as the chickweed wintergreen or the Arctic starflower. This plant is a small herbaceous perennial plant . It has one or more whorls of obovate,or tear drop shaped leaves In the late summer months these leaves turn to a copperish color. There is one white flowers that has from six to eight petals on this Starflower.The blooms arrive in the mid summer months. Trientalis europaea can be found in the boreal areas of both Europe and Asia.

This species is a woodland indicator species. In Scotland it grows on piney, organic or acidic  soil. It also will grow in oak and birch woodlands and moorland that were woodland in the past.

This starflower rarely reproduces by seed as is is somewhat weak. It usually forms clonal or clone like populations that are interconnected by rhizomes (underground root or stem) during it’s time of growth. Woodland clearance and moor burning has decreased the population in northern England and it is considered endangered in some areas.