[The Shooting Stars of the Columbia
River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]
Bonneville Shooting Star, Desert Shooting Star, Slimpod Shooting Star
Synonyms: Dodecatheon conjugens ssp. conjugens, Dodecatheon conjugens ssp. leptophyllum, Dodecatheon conjugens var. conjugens, Dodecatheon conjugens ssp. viscidum, Dodecatheon conjugens var. conjugens, Dodecatheon conjugens var. viscidum
The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of desert shooting
star as seen along the Horsethief Butte Trail on the south side of Horsethief
Butte..........March 11, 2006.
photo at right shows desert shooting star from the hillsides above the east bank
of the Deschutes River near its mouth..........March 30, 2002.
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.
2. Filaments only 1-1.5 mm long, giving the stamens the appearance
of being very short.
3. In the Gorge, the filaments may be yellow or blackish.
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.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found from Rowland Lake
east between the elevations of 200'-3000'.
Close-ups of desert shooting star as seen from the Dancing Rock Property near the Columbia Hills State Park, Columbia River Gorge..........March 15, 2010.
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This group of photos show detailed close-ups of the leaves, flowers and whole plant of desert shooting star as seen in oak forest openings along the south side of Dillacort Creek, lower Klickitat River drainage.........April 3, 2011. With this species, the filament tube is generally not seen but a small portion of the yellow tube is seen just above the anthers in one of these photos. I wonder if this might represent an older flower (in other words, I wonder if the filament tube may become partially visible as the flower ages?).
The photo at left shows desert shooting star blooming adjacent to the Memaloose Overlook, Columbia River Gorge.........March 23, 2014.
The photo at right shows desert star from bluffs above and to the east of the Crawford Oaks trailhead at Columbia Hills State Park...........March 15, 2014.
Desert shooting stars blooming on vernally moist scabland slopes above the Crawford Oaks trailhead, Columbia Hills State Park..........March 3, 2015.
Desert shooting stars blooming under oregon white oaks at Catherine Creek.........March 23, 2017.
Desert shooting stars on steep grassland slopes near Ferry Springs, Deschutes River State Recreation Area........March 31, 2017.
Close-up of the flower of desert shooting star,
from the mouth of the Deschutes River, Columbia River Gorge..........March 30,
A second close-up of the flower of desert shooting
star as seen from Horsethief Butte, Columbia Hills State Park............March
One of the first desert shooting stars of 2013 as seen blooming on low benches above Washington Highway 14 east of Eightmile Creek in the Columbia Hills State Park...........March 2, 2013.