Jeffrey's Shootingstar | Dodecatheon jeffreyi
Delicate colour of shootingstar leaves.

I was fascinated by the colour of the leaves of Jeffrey’s shootingstar (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) alongside a cold sub-alpine stream this week in Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park. The leaves were a stark contrast to the dark water and grey day and a beautiful sign that winter is not far off.

Jeffrey's Shootingstar | Dodecatheon jeffreyi
Fall leaves of Jeffrey’s Shootingstar

Jeffrey’s shootingstar grows in wet meadows and along stream banks. During the summer it is the flower that one notices rather than the leaves (see photo below). The magenta flowers point downward and look like shooting stars. Different species can be separated by way the flowers look and by the shape of the leaves. This year, shootingstars were blooming well into late June.

Dodecatheon is one genus of flowers that uses “buzz pollination” – bumblebees use buzzing and rapid movement of flight muscles (but not wings) to create vibration that dislodges the pollen from the anthers. The pollen and the bumblebee’s legs have different electrical charges. As a result, the pollen that is shaken loose is attracted to the bumblebee’s legs.

Jeffrey's Shootingstar | Dodecatheon jeffreyi (June 29, 2009)
Summer flowers of Jeffrey’s Shootingstar