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Starflower - Lysimachia borealis

Starflower - Lysimachia borealis

Lysimachia borealis (formerly Trientalis borealis), is also known as Starflower or Waanikebagashk (she/he makes a hole - leaf - grass-like plant). Starflower is a prennial wildflower native to Michigan and the UP. It likes moist, rich woods in shade to part shade, but is nearly equally at home in dry pine forests, even jack pine. The second picture shows it on the floor of a rich, moist deciduous forest. The third shows it as part of a lush community of plants in a shaded and tree-stabilized area on the shore of Lake Michigan, growing in nearly pure beach sand with pine needles.


Starflower has a single whorl of leaves topped by one or two star-shaped white flowers between May and June, and reaches a height of 8 inches. It forms colonies by rhizome but plays nicely with other natives.


This is an authentic Yooper plant, therefore, it seems to have gotten no attention whatsoever from the studiers of plants through the years. My go-to site for information on the relationships between plants and insects/animals,, says "records of floral-faunal relationships for Starflower (Trientalis borealis) are sparse". Other websites and books have only one thing to say, essentially "Starflower usually has 7 leaves and 7 petals! Isn't that unusual and interesting!" However, the smattering of information available suggests that the flowers are a source of pollen for native bees, and they are probably important to some particular species.


When the leaves and flowers fade late in summer, they leave a stalk topped by a little bead of seeds. Seeds are eaten by chipmunks and possibly other critters or birds. Starflower makes a good layering plant in a woodland garden, or acts as a light groundcover under pines. We have only just mastered production of this species. Supplies are limited!

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