Primula meadia (L.) A.R. Mast & Reveal

Common Shooting Star

Primula meadia plant

Family - Primulaceae

Stems - Scape to +30cm tall, glabrous, 3mm in diameter, from slightly thickened roots.

Leaves - Basal, spatulate, +10cm long, +2cm broad, entire, obtuse, glabrous.

Primula meadia basalsBasal leaves in-situ.

Inflorescence - Umbellate cluster terminating scape, with +/-10 flowers. Pedicels glabrous, curving, to +4cm long, longer in fruit.

Primula meadia inflorescenceInflorescence

Flowers - Corolla tube 2-2.5mm long, 5-lobed. Lobes spreading at first and then sharply recurving, +/-2cm long, 7mm broad, glabrous, purple or white with yellow and maroon spotting at the base near the corolla tube throat. Stamens 5, borne at apex of corolla tube, opposite the corolla lobes, connate around the ovary, connivent around the style. Anthers long, +/-8mm, attenuate. Anther connective lilac to purple, yellow below, smooth. Ovary green, glabrous, cylindric, to 4mm long, 2mm in diameter, seeds (ovules) many. Placentation free-central. Calyx tube 3mm long, 3.5mm broad, glabrous. Calyx lobes 5, attenuate, 5mm long, alternating with the corolla lobes, spreading.

Primula meadia calyxCalyces (view from above)

Primula meadia flowerFlower

Primula meadia white flowerWhite flower.

Primula meadia fruitDeveloping fruit.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Prairies, meadows, hillsides, open woods, rock outcrops.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a very striking plant which is found throughout much of Missouri except the northwestern corner. The flowers can range from purplish to white but are most commonly purplish. This is an easy species to identify because of its big basal leaves and unmistakable flowers.
A synonym previously in common use was Dodecatheon meadia.

Photographs taken in Ripley County, MO., 5-15-04 (DETenaglia); also at Valley View Glades Natural Area, 4-28-2010 and 5-8-2017 (SRTurner).