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Amsonia tabernaemontana (Eastern bluestar)
Bruso, George H.

Amsonia tabernaemontana

Amsonia tabernaemontana Walter

Eastern Bluestar, Blue Dogbane, Willow Amsonia, Woodland Bluestar

Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)


USDA Symbol: amta2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Eastern bluestar is a 1-3 ft., erect-stemmed perennial forming large, multi-stemmed clumps. The smooth stems are crowded with narrow, oval leaves which turn golden-yellow in the fall. Blue, tubular flowers, the rim flaring to a star-shape, appear in loosely conjested clusters at the tips of the stems.

The species name commemorates the 16th-century German herbalist Jakobus Theodorus Tabernaemontanus. Greek "apocynum" noxious to dogs. Distasteful.


From the Image Gallery

14 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Ciliate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Anthers yellow-orange. Flowers often partially hidden by uppermost leaves.


USA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: MD & s.e. VA to s. IL & infrequently to KS, s. to FL & e. TX
Native Habitat: Wet, sandy sites in thin woods & on plains.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Wet to moist, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: This species should be cut back after flowering. Blue star has naturalized northeast as far as Massachusetts. A similar species, A. illustris, occurs inland from MO & KS to TX.


Description: Seed can be sown outside, 1/2" deep, after collection. Seedlings germinate immediately, but flower the second year following germination.
Seed Collection: Long, slender follicles turn tan when they are mature, about 4-5 months after flowering. Corky seeds are cinnamon-brown when mature. Store dried seeds in a sealed, refrigerated container. Can be stored up to four years.
Seed Treatment: For seeds that have been stored, cut an end off the seed and soak in water 2-3 days. This will aid germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Amsonia tabernaemontana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Amsonia tabernaemontana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Amsonia tabernaemontana


Record Modified: 2023-09-11
Research By: TWC Staff

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