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August 2010
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Shooting Star – Dodecatheon meadia, Primulaceae (Primrose family)

Shooting star is commonly also known as American Cowslip, Mosquito Bills, Mad Violets, and Sailor-caps. It is an herbaceous perennial which grows up to a height of 0.75 to 1.5 feet and spread up to 0.75 to 1 foot. Their native is Missouri and its range is Eastern and central United States. It typically occurs in open woods and glades, rocky wooded slopes, bluff ledges, meadows and prairies. The flowers bloom in white, pink, purple colors. From each basal rosette of lance-shaped leaves come 1-4 sturdy, leafless, center flower scapes rising to 20 inches tall and atop each flower scape be an umbel containing 8-20, nodding, and 1inch long flowers. The stamens are thrust out with the sepals bent back.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. Hence they are commonly called Shooting Stars because of the flower shape. There is no floral scent. In overall appearance, the inflorescence looks like a collection of pretty shooting stars, hence the common name for this plant.The flowers bloom in late spring.
The leaves are up to 6″ long and 2½” across, and oblong or oblanceolate. The flowers are pollinated by bees. They are used in wildflower garden, woodland garden, rock garden or naturalized areas.

Growing conditions for Shooting Star – Dodecatheon meadia

• Shooting Star can be difficult to start from seed because of damping off.
• Needs part shade to full shade.
• Needs rich and moderately acidic soil.
• It is slow to develop because of the short period of active growth.
• Transplants can also be temperamental, particularly if they are too small, or dug into the ground after the cool rainy weather of spring.
• They should be divided every 3 years in the fall, when the plants are dormant, by splitting the root ball into 3 pieces with each piece having at least 3 stems & lots of roots.
• Plant them in groups for the best effect.
• If they appear pale, provide them with a little shade by planting a large-leaved plant nearby.

Care for Shooting Star – Dodecatheon meadia

• Grow in average, medium moisture.
• Need well-drained soil.
• Needs rich and moderately acidic soil.
• Needs part shade to full shade
• Prefers moist, humus soils in part shade.
• Avoid poorly-drained, wet soils, particularly in winter.
• It is slow and difficult to grow from seed.
• Zone: 4 to 8
• Bloom Time is May.
• They are more prone to diseases if consumed by too much water.
• Organic mulch needs to be spread around the plants in the spring to limit the weeds and exacerbate prettier blooms.
• Discard any dead foliage that falls beneath it to ward off the potential of detrimental fungus.

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