Dodecatheon meadia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: shooting star 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Primulaceae
Native Range: Eastern and central North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White, pink, purple
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Clay Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, humusy, well-drained soil in part shade. Will tolerate a range of sun conditions including full shade and full sun as long as evenly moist, well-draining soils are provided. Avoid poorly-drained, wet soils, particularly in winter. Slow and difficult to grow from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dodecatheon meadia, commonly called shooting star, is a much beloved, native Missouri wildflower that is indigenous to much of the eastern United States and typically occurs in open woods and glades, rocky wooded slopes, bluff ledges, meadows and prairies. From each basal rosette of lance-shaped leaves come 1-4 sturdy, leafless, center flower scapes rising to 20" tall. Atop each flower scape is an umbel containing 8-20, nodding, 1" long flowers. Each flower has five swept-back (reflexed) petals and a cluster of yellow stamens converging to a point, thus giving the flower the appearance of a shooting star plummeting to earth. Flower colors are quite variable, ranging from white to pink to light purple. Blooms in late spring.

Genus name comes from the Greek words dodeka meaning twelve and theos meaning god.

Specific epithet honors English physician Richard Mead (1673-1754).


No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage disappears and plant goes dormant in summer.


Best grown in shady areas in a native plant or wildflower garden, woodland garden, rock garden or naturalized area.