Tom's Blog

Monday, May 15, 2017

Shooting star: prairie or savanna plant?

This is shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) time. At Pleasant Valley Conservancy, we had many sites where this species was remnant. Some even flowered before any restoration work, but lots had also been suffering along in deep shade and only flourished after brush clearing and a burn. Of course, we also collected seeds and used those to plant prairies in our former ag fields.

Shooting star is one of those species (like golden Alexanders and New Jersey tea) that do well in both prairies and savannas. There has been some good research on the growth and cultivation of shooting star, most importantly the nice paper by Paul Sorenson that was published in one of the North American Prairie Conference reports.

The photo below was taken the other day in the White Oak Savanna (Unit 12A), which was one of the first areas we restored (2001-2002). As soon as the brush was removed, shooting star bloomed extensively, and has been doing so ever since. (This unit is burned annually.)

Right now you should find shooting star in bloom in almost every prairie or savanna in southern Wisconsin.


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