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Manitoba Museum

Primrose (Primulaceae)

Saline Shootingstar

Dodecatheon pulchellum (Raf.) Merr.

Very few species of bees can pollinate the Saline Shootingstar, a plant found on saline (salty) grasslands. Visiting bees do not feed on nectar. Instead, they vibrate their wings to a specific frequency causing pores on the anthers to open, and the pollen inside to come loose and spill over the bees. This process is called buzz pollination.

Flower Colour:

  • Pink

Flowering Season:

  • Spring
  • Summer

Flowering Months:

  • April
  • August
  • July
  • June
  • May

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” in Yukon and “sensitive” in the Northwest Territories.

Physical Appearance:

This perennial grows 5-40 cm tall. Its spoon-shaped leaves have stalks and smooth to faintly toothed edges, occurring in a basal clump. The nectarless flowers are arranged in a nodding cluster of 1-25, on top of a leafless stem. Each one has five pink petals, bent backwards and joined at the base in a yellow band. The five joined stamens stick out as a pointed, yellow and reddish-purple tube. The cylinder to egg-shaped fruits split open to release their many seeds.

Similar Species:

Mountain Shootingstar (Dodecatheon conjugens Greene)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are often available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Saline Shootingstar grows easily from seed.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Northwest Territories
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Meadows
  • Prairies
  • Salt Flats
  • Wetlands

Moisture Conditions:

  • Moist

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Clay
  • Saline
Saline Shootingstar