- -Desert shooting stars blooming (at left and center) in vernally moist swales along the main east-west access road through the Bickleton Ridge Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area..........April 11, 2017. The photo at right shows desert shooting stars blooming atop Bickleton Ridge on May 7, 2017.
Desert shooting star is an attractive perennial wildflower with a basal rosette of leaves and erect stem from 5-20 cm tall. The leaves are lanceolate to oblanceolate, spatulate, or obovate, 3-20 cm long, usually several times longer than wide, with entire margins and a smooth to lightly pubescent surface.
The 1-10 flowers have floral parts in fives, with the stigma not enlarged and the filaments are free, yellowish or purple, and usually not over 1-1.5 mm long. The anther connectives are strongly transversely wrinkled and from deep red to purple. The anthers are from 6-8 mm long. The tube at the base of the petals is yellowish with a wrinkled red ring. The corollas are 1-3 cm long. The reflexed petals are purplish.
Key identifying Characteristics:
1. Stem and leaves nonglandular. The leaves are oval-shaped and fairly fleshy, being stiffer than those of most of the other shooting stars.
2. Filaments only 1-1.5 mm long, giving the stamens the appearance of being very short.
3. The filaments are not yellow.
Desert shooting star is a wildflower of seasonally moist open grasslands or sagebrush in the plains, foothills and montane zones of the west.
Desert shooting star may be found from the east slopes of the Cascade Mts. east to Alberta and Wyoming, north to British Columbia, and south to northern California.
Desert shooting stars blooming in a vernally moist swale at the East Simcoe Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.......April 20, 2018.
Desert shooting star from along Road #4670 in meadows at Billy Meadows Guard Station in the northern Wallowa-Whitman N.F.........June 26, 2008.