[Shooting Stars: The Genus Dodecatheon East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star

Dodecatheon alpinum

Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus

Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Alpine shooting stars as seen from a seep along the South Loop Road about one mile downhill from the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon.........August 31, 2011.

Characteristics:

Alpine shooting star is an attractive perennial which should be fairly easy to identify due to the corolla with 4 petals and the "pinhead" stigma at the tip of the style. The erect stem rises 5-40 cm from a basal rosette of linear-lanceolate leaves with blunt or rounded tips from 3-10 cm long and 3-15 mm wide. The leaves taper to winged petioles and the margins are entire to wavy. The herbage of the leaves and stems is usually smooth-surfaced although there could be some glandular-pubescence in the inflorescence.

The 1-9 flowers have 4 floral parts. The calyx is smooth-surfaced with fine purple flecks, the sepals being narrowly lanceolate and 4-7 mm long. The corolla is 10-18 mm long with purple petals reflexed sharply backwards.. The tube at the base of the petals is yellow-ringed with a thin, reddish-purple ring at the very base. The filaments are no longer than 1 mm and are either entirely free or united to form a tube of purple anthers. The anther connectives are cross-rugose, deep purple in color. The purple anthers are 5-8 mm long while the stigma is distinctively enlarged at the tip.


Habitat:

Alpine shooting star may be found in wet mountain meadows or along streams within its range.


Range:

Alpine shooting star may be found from the Wallowa Mts. of northeastern Oregon southwest to the Cascades of south-central Oregon and south through the Sierra Nevada to southern California. It may be found to the east in Arizona and Utah.


Close-up of the flower of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Close-up of a flower of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Basal leaf cluster of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Close-ups of the leaves and flowers of alpine shooting stars as seen from a seep along the South Loop Road about one mile downhill from the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon........August 31, 2011. Note that the tip of the stigma is rounded and wider than the style. The leaves of this species are greener and narrower than those of the similar desert shooting stars (Dodecatheon conjugens).

Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Alpine shooting star as seen from a seep along the South Loop Road about one mile downhill from the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon........September 2, 2011.

Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Flower of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Alpine shooting star as seen along the shoreline of Wildhorse Lake, Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon........July 10, 2014.

Basal leaf rosette of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Basal leaf rosettes of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Basal leaf rosettes of alpine shooting star as seen in riparian grasses along a small creek along the South Loop Road about one mile west of the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mountain............September 20, 2015.

Flowers of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Alpine shooting star as seen at left along the eastern shoreline of Maxwell Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness...........August 3, 2016. The photos at center and at right show alpine shooting stars blooming in a wet area along Forest Road 4011 several hundred yards below the trailhead for the Crane Mountain Trail, Fremont-Winema National Forest......June 30, 2019.

Habitat of Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus) - Alpine Shootingstar, Alpine Shooting Star: Dodecatheon alpinum (Synonyms: Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. alpinum, Dodecatheon alpinum ssp. majus)

Alpine shooting stars in bloom along the Deadman Canyon Trail #1869 near the east outlet to Sugarloaf Reservoir, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.......July 18, 2019.

Paul Slichter