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Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia (Broadleaf starflower)
Reveal, James L.

Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia

Trientalis borealis Raf. ssp. latifolia (Hook.) Hultén

Broadleaf Starflower, Maystar, Starflower, Indian Potato

Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Synonym(s): Trientalis europaea var. latifolia, Trientalis latifolia


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The slender, upright stem is usually less than 10 in. tall and is topped by a whorl of light-green, lance-shaped leaves which itself is topped by a loose cluster of starry, white or pink flowers on slender stalks.

The genus name derives from the Latin word for "one-third foot," referring to the height of this charming plant. Although it is commonly called Indian Potato, because of the small underground swelling at the base of the stem, modern references do not mention edibility, so caution is advised. The similar Northern Starflower (T. europaea ssp. arctica), which grows in wet places from Alaska south to northwestern California, has white flowers and obovate leaves.


From the Image Gallery

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 10 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: CA , ID , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: San Luis Obispo & Mariposa Cos., CA, n. to B.C. & n. ID
Native Habitat: Woods below 4500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Description: Damp, cool, humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: An excellent ground cover for cooler climates; it spreads once established but is never invasive.


Description: Propagate by seed, little tubers or by sod from rescue missions. Sow seeds in flats as soon as they ripen and cover with a lot of mulch. Germination is slow.
Seed Treatment: No treatment necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FAC FACW
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia


Record Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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