Dodecatheon conjugens “Desert Shooting Star” Primulaceae

Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot Mountains, MT
March 18, 2015
Robert Niese

Our two most common Shooting Stars in the Missoula area are D. conjugens and D. pulchellum. They are nearly identical and can even occur side-by-side on shrub-steppe hillsides, but a careful examination of the wrinkles at the base of the anthers and the shape of the stigma can usually assist in identification. D. pulchellum tends to have a slightly enlarged stigma and has anthers with wrinkles that run vertically. Conversely, D. conjugens has a narrow, almost imperceptible stigma and has wrinkles on its anthers that run horizontally. This individual has some nice horizontal wrinkles and a very small stigma. After editing this picture, I noticed that there is also a louse or springtail hanging out on the style, presumably waiting for a pollinator to stop by so it can hitch a ride to another flower.

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