E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Dodecatheon hendersonii A. Gray
Henderson's Shooting Star (broad-leaved shootingstar; mosquito bills; Slimpod)
Primulaceae

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6491)

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Distribution of Dodecatheon hendersonii
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SUBTAXA PRESENT IN BC
Dodecatheon hendersonii ssp. hendersonii

Species Information

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General:
Plants fibrous-rooted; roots usually whitish; small rice-like bulblets present at base of plant.
Stems:
Scapes 15-30 (50) cm tall, glabrous to distally glandular.
Leaves:
Leaves ovate to nearly rounded (sometimes oblanceolate), tapering abruptly to the narrowly winged petiole, entire, glabrous, 3-14 cm.
Flowers:
Inflorescences of 2-17 flowers; involucral bracts lanceolate, usually glabrous, 3-15 mm. Flowers long-stalked; corolla tube and throat yellow or whitish with a thick, red, wavy ring around the throat; corolla lobes pink to lavender (rarely white), 6-25 (28) mm; pollen sacs dark red or reddish-purple (sometimes yellow or yellow with dark speckles); calyces green, purple-speckled, glabrous or glandular-puberulent, 5-10 mm; filaments connate, dark reddish-purple; connective dark reddish-purple to blackish, transversely rugose; stigma not enlarged relative the style; pedicels 2-7 cm long, glabrous or glandular. Flowering Mar-May.
Fruits:
Capsules green to reddish or purplish, cylindrical, glabrous or glandular-puberulent, circumcissile or 5-valvate, 7-17 (19) mm.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows, Garry Oak woodlands, open coniferous forests, and rock outcrops in the lowland zone. Locally common in extreme sw BC (s Vancouver I., Gulf Is.); south to CA.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Additional Notes

This species, with its flattened rosettes of broadly ovate leaves and rice-like bulblets at the base of the plant, is easily identified within its very limited provincial distribution. It commonly occurs within the forest understory in dry or mesic upland habitats, which is unlike other co-occurring species of Dodecatheon (other species are largely restricted to meadows, estuaries, and other open, moist habitats). D. hendersonii var. hendersonii is a major component of the spectacular early spring wildflower bloom within its range, blooming in abundance alongside species such as Lomatium utriculatum, Erythronium oregonum ssp. oregonum, and a variety of Claytonia species. Where the two species occur together on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, D. hendersonii typically blooms several weeks earlier than D. pulchellum var. macrocarpum.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columba, draft 2014
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Family Information

Primulaceae:

Annual, biennial, or perennial forbs; scapose; from fibrous roots, short rhizome, or branched caudex, occasionally mat-forming or cespitose. Scapes ascending to erect, solitary or several per plant, unbranched. Leaves all basal, often rosulate, simple, unlobed, entire to toothed, subsessile to stalked, glabrous to pubescent, sometime glandular. Inflorescence a terminal, bracteate umbel, or flowers solitary. Flowers radially symmetric, 5-merous, bisexual, stalked; corolla campanulate or tubular to salviform, lobes sometimes sharply reflexed, usually whitish or pinkish to deep magenta, 4- to 5-lobed; calyces 4- to 5-lobed; stamens 5; filaments distinct or partially connate; ovary superior; style 1. Fruits 5-chambered dehiscent capsules, valvate to circumcissile. Genera 20, species ca. 600 (4 genera, 15 spp. in B.C.). Widespread in arctic, temperate, and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere; disjunct in equatorial regions (e.g., e Africa, Indonesia) and in the southern hemisphere (e.g., s South America).

Non-scapose genera that were formerly included in Primulaceae ( Anagallis, Glaux, Lysimachia, Trientalis) have now been moved to Myrsinaceae (Källersjö et al. 2000, Trift et al. 2002, Cholewa and Kelso 2009). Many species in this family have a pronounced association with calcareous environments and are subsequently rather locally distributed within the province. Primulaceae contains a number of very showy species, and several genera have become important ornamentals in the horticultural trade (e.g., Primula, Dodecatheon).

Key to the Genera of Primulaceae

1a. Corolla lobes >2 times as long as the tube, sharply reflexed; stamens far exserted; filaments often at least partially connate (distinct in some species) .........................................................................Dodecatheon

1b. Corolla lobes less than twice as long as the tube, not reflexed; stamens included; filaments never connate…………………….........................2

2a. Calyces keeled (at least on the tube); plants densely cespitose (cushion-like) or mat-forming perennials with clusters of leaves at the bases of the scapes (rarely taprooted biennials), corollas rose-pink (fading to lavender, rarely to whitish).…...............................................Douglasia

2b. Calyces not keeled or only weakly keeled in fruit; plants taprooted annuals or perennials from fibrous roots or short rhizomes, or if mat-forming perennials (i.e., Androsace chamaejasme), then corollas white or pink-tinged with a yellow or pink throat..……………………….……………………………………………………………………………………...................................3

3a. Corollas constricted at the throat, magenta to lavender (rarely white), usually >7 mm across; plants never densely grey-hairy… ………………………………………………………...…………………………………………………..................................................Primula

3b. Corollas not constricted at the throat, white (sometimes fading pinkish in A. chamaejasme), usually <5 mm across (if >5 mm, then plants densely grey-hairy)…….……….......................................................……Androsace


Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Genus Information

Scapose, fibrous-rooted or short-rhizomatous perennial herbs, sometimes with numerous rice-like bulblets at the bases of the leaves. Scapes erect, solitary. Leaves all basal, rosulate, petiolate, simple, glabrous to glandular-hairy. Inflorescences terminal, bracteate umbellate or flowers solitary. Flowers long-stalked, the pedicels usually recurved (longer and more erect in fruit); corollas pink or white, tubular, usually white or yellow at the throat, with 4-5 long reflexed lobes; stamens well-exserted, usually dark purplish-black or reddish-purple, with short yellow filaments and anthers sometimes united at the base; ovary superior; calyces tubular, not keeled, glabrous or minutely glandular, 5-lobed, lobes spreading or reflexed and usually exceeding the tube. Capsules ovoid to cylindrical, exceeding the calyx, thin-walled, circumcissile and/or opening by five apical slits. 17 spp. (6 spp. in B.C.); North America, Mexico, e Asia.

The greatest diversity of species in this genus is found in western North America. Recent molecular-genetic research has convincingly demonstrated that Dodecatheon is derived from within Primula (specifically, from Primula subg. Auriculastrum) and therefore should be included within that genus to preserve its monophyly (Mast et al. 2004, Mast and Reveal 2007, Reveal 2009). It is retained as distinct here, however, due to its highly distinctive and consistent morphology, although nomenclatural combinations within Primula are provided for use if preferred. The evolution of Dodecatheon from within Primula subg. Auriculastrum has apparently been facilitated through an adaptation to buzz pollination in Dodecatheon (Mast et al. 2004). Species boundaries are not always sharply defined in this genus, and this is exacerbated by the tendency of populations to exhibit considerable vegetative plasticity in response to factors such as moisture levels, elevation, aspect, competing vegetation, and season. In addition, some species (i.e., D. pulchellum, D. conjugens) show significant geographic variation in the Pacific Northwest, which can blur the distinctions between the infraspecific taxa. Close investigation of the characteristics of the stigmas and filaments in Dodecatheon may be required for conclusive identification of some specimens, and these characters can be hard to observe in poorly-pressed specimens; the texture of the connective (the flattened portion of the anther between the pollen sacs) is of particular importance.


Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Dodecatheon hendersonii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 31 148 315
Slope Gradient (%) 0 26 84
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
23 164 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 1 3
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
B
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
48
Modal BEC Zone Class
CDF
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(31)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, sub montane to montane, Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-rich soils. Sporadic in open-canopy forests on water-shedding sites, or in meadow-like communities where early spring moisture is followed by mid-summer drought. Occasionally inhabits water-receiving sites (vernal springs). Its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude, elevation, precipitation, and continentality. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References