Trientalis latifolia Hook.
Northern Starflower (broad-leaved starflower; starflower; western starflower)
Myrsinaceae (Myrsine family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #6879)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Trientalis latifolia
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Species Information

Plants from a usually vertical tuber; tuber 1-2 cm.
Leaves mostly whorled at stem apex; primary leaves 3-8, elliptic or broadly elliptic to almost orbiculate, widest around midpoint, apices acute to acuminate (sometimes rounded), bases long tapering, (2.5) 4-11 cm; stem leaves alternate, reduced and scale-like.
Flowers 1-5 per plant; corollas pinkish to whitish, 4.5-9 mm across; corolla lobes ovate to lanceolate, apices acute to acuminate; pedicels shorter than to slightly longer than the leaves (especially in fruit), glabrous to sparsely glandular, 3-4.5 cm. Flowering Apr-Jun.
Fruits globose capsules, valvate; seeds black to reddish-brown, with a deciduous, white, net-like coating.
Stems 10-25 cm tall.

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

Habitat and Range

Moist to mesic coniferous forests, mixed woodlands, and riparian areas in the lowland and montane zones. Common in sw BC (Vancouver Island, southern mainland coast), rare and local in wc and c BC; south to CA, ID; disjunct in YT.

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


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Trientalis borealis subsp. latifolia (Hook.) Hultén
Trientalis europaea var. latifolia [Hook.] Torr.)

Taxonomic Notes

No combination for Trientalis latifolia in Lysimachia has been proposed, so no names are available for the species if it is moved to that genus. This is a common forest herb in southwestern B.C., where it can be found in a wide variety of woodland habitats; it is considerably less common elsewhere in B.C.

A very similar species, Trientalis borealis Raf. (BOREAL STARFLOWER), occurs throughout most of the boreal regions of Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, occurring west to northern Alberta; it may occur in extreme northeast BC. It has narrower primary leaves than T. latifolia (lanceolate or lanceolate-elliptic, rather than broadly elliptic to nearly orbicular), with fewer flowers per plant (1-3) and consistently white corollas (corollas usually pink or pink-tinged in T. latifolia). Some plants of T. latifolia (particularly on Vancouver Island) approach T. borealis in leaf shape and corolla colour; however, the two species have widely allopatric distributions and are not known to occur together, which greatly facilitates their identification.

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