[Prairie Stars & Woodland Stars East of the Cascade Mts.]

Slender Woodland Star

Lithophragma tenellum

The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of slender woodland star as seen on grasslands about one-half mile below Kiger Gorge, along the north loop road of the Steens Mt, southeastern Oregon......July 6, 2004.

the photo at right shows a close-up of the inflorescence of slender woodland star at the Steens Mt............July 6, 2004. Note the gland-tipped hairs on the stem and calyx, and the cup-shaped calyx.

Also known as slender fringecup, slender woodland star is an attractive perennial with simple stems arising 5-30 cm high. The stems and leaves are sparsely to densely glandular-hairy, the glands white to purplish. The basal leaves have petioles from 1-5 cm long and blades that are suborbicular in outline that are deeply cut into 3 lobes, the middle lobe the largest, and each lobe again once to twice lobed. The blades range from 1-2.5 cm long. The 2 stem leaves are reduced in size and more dissected or pinnatifid than the basal leaves. The leaves are light green in color. The flower stem is finely glandular-hairy.

The inflorescence is a raceme of 3-9 white or pink flowers. The pedicels are 1-2 mm long at flowering, elongating up to 7.5 mm long in fruit. The calyx is bell-shaped, rounded at the base, and from 2-3.5 mm long. The 5 sepals are each triangular with obtuse tips, and range from 0.5-1.2 mm long. Each of the 5 widely spreading petals are ovate in outline, palmately 5- parted with the side lobes smaller and parts in the petal cut 1/2-5/8 of the distance to the base of the petal. The blade of the petal narrows to a claw about as long as the sepals. The stamens are not exserted past the sepals. The ovary is less than inferior.

If cultivated, slender woodland star, like other prairie stars, would make a pretty perennial wildflower for the rock garden or prairie garden.


Slender woodland star may be found in thick, loam soils on open, grassy and sagebrush slopes and in open woodlands between the elevations of 1200-3000 meters.


Slender woodland star may be found from southern British Columbia south to the east of the Cascade Mts through central and southeastern Washington to southern Oregon and northern California, Nevada, Utah, northwestern New Mexico and central Arizona. It is found eastward through southern Idaho to southwestern Montana, central and western Wyoming, and western Colorado. Outlying populations are found in southern California.

The photo above shows a close-up of the upper surface of a leaf blade of slender woodland star.............July 6, 2004.

The photo above shows a close-up of the glandular-hairy under surface of a leaf blade of slender woodland star..........July 6, 2004.

The photo above shos a close-up of the inflorescence of smooth prairie star as seen from the Rooster Comb, south Steens Loop Road, southeastern Oregon....June 23, 1999.

Paul Slichter