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Mr. Smarty Plants - Flower color in shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia)

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Thursday - February 25, 2010

From: Amherst, MA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: General Botany
Title: Flower color in shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon meadia) come in the colors white, lavender and purple in the eastern U.S. Is this just genetic variability or does soil chemistry affect the flower color?

ANSWER:

All the information that I can find indicates that the flower colors of Dodecatheon meadia (Eastern shootingstar) are genetically determined. 

You can read a discussion and comparison of the flower colors of D. meadia and the closely related Dodecatheon amethystinum (jeweled shootingstar) in "The Jeweled Shooting Star (Dodecatheon amethystinum) in Illinois"  by John E. Schwegman, Castanea, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Jun., 1984), pp. 74-82.  You should be able to access this article through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst or Amherst College libraries.

For a full botanical description of  D. meadia and other species of Dodecatheon, please see the Revision of Dodecatheon (Primulaceae) from the New York Botanical Garden.


 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern shooting star
Dodecatheon meadia

Eastern shooting star
Dodecatheon meadia

Amethyst shootingstar
Dodecatheon amethystinum

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