Stellaria borealis Bigelow subsp. borealis
boreal starwort
Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

Photograph

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #71211)


Map

E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Stellaria borealis subsp. borealis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

General:
Perennial herb from a long rhizome; stems prostrate to ascending, glabrous or pimply above, 15-50 cm tall/long.
Leaves:
Basal leaves lacking or soon deciduous; stem leaves linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, sometimes narrowly egg-shaped to elliptic, 2-6 cm long, opposite, unstalked, glabrous, not net-veined, margins minutely toothed.
Flowers:
Inflorescence of solitary flowers in leaf axils or few to many flowers on branch tips; petals white, sometimes lacking, nearly as long as the sepals; sepals 5, sometimes 4, green, 1- to 3-nerved, lanceolate, abruptly sharp-pointed.
Fruits:
Capsules egg-shaped, usually dark brown to straw-coloured, translucent to opaque, 4.5-7.5 mm high, more than 1.5 times as high as wide; seeds smooth to wrinkled, reddish-brown, 1.0-1.2 mm long.
Notes:
This species belongs to the highly variable S. calycantha complex which was first monographed for North America by Fernald (1940). More recently, Morton and Rabeler (1989) have presented a revision of the complex that separates S. borealis from S. calycantha. It would appear most of our material in northwestern North America, according to Morton and Rabeler (1989), now belongs to S. borealis. In BC two subspecies of S. borealis are recognized:

1. Sepals egg-shaped to triangular, midrib extending to near the tip, lateral nerves only visible near the base; capsules dark brown and opaque as they open; seeds smooth or indistinctly wrinkled; leaves widest just below the middle, usually 2-3 cm long................... ssp. borealis

1. Sepals narrowly triangular, with three prominent nerves; capsules straw-coloured and translucent; seeds usually wrinkled; leaves widest near the base, usually 3-6 cm long................. ssp. sitchana (Steud.) Piper

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Illustration

If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Stellaria borealis ssp. borealis

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

Avg

Min

Max

Elevation (metres)
1550 1550 1550
Slope Gradient (%)
35 35 35

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

251 252 252
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 4 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
1
Modal BEC Zone Class
SWB

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

SWB(1)

Habitat and Range

Wet to moist meadows, streambanks, shrub thickets and open forests in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout BC except lacking along the coast (ssp. borealis), common along the coast and in S BC south of 52degreeN, infrequent elsewhere except lacking in NE BC (ssp. sitchana); N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and NS and S to NY, MI, MN, NM, AZ and CA (ssp. borealis), N to AK and YT and S to SD, WY and CA (ssp. sitchana).

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Synonyms

Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Alsine borealis (Bigelow) Britt.
Spergulastrum lanceolatum Michx.
Stellaria borealis var. floribunda Fern.
Stellaria borealis var. isophylla Fern.
Stellaria calycantha subsp. interior Hult╬śn
Stellaria calycantha var. floribunda (Fern.) Fern.
Stellaria calycantha var. isophylla (Fernald) Fernald
Stellaria calycantha var. latifolia Boivin
Stellaria calycantha var. laurentiana Fern.