By Common Name‎ > ‎Wildflowers N-Z‎ > ‎

Western Star Flower

Western Star Flower, Star Flower or Indian Potato, Trientalis latifolia

Western Star Flower, photographer Shari Brewer

The dainty Western Star Flower is a common flower of the western Cascade Mountain Range and blooms early, often growing into thick mats on the forest floor where they can catch a little sunlight.  This flower grows along with Siberian Miner's Lettuce, Spring Beauty Claytonia and Western Bleeding Heart.  Although regarded as an early spring blooming plant, you will find Western Star Flower blooming clear into August in higher elevations.  "Latifolia" meaning "wide- leaved", this plant bares 3 to 7 delicate broad leaves 1 to 4 inches long.  In the the center of the plant, the flowers arise on delicate stems.  Each flower has 6 white to pale-pink petals with  6 stamens surrounding a short pistil.   

Another common name for this plant is "Indian Potato" referring to the numerous small spindle shaped roots which are quite starchy and nutritious and were harvested by northwestern tribes.  This plant also provides a valuable a source of food for wildlife, and you can sometimes find patches where bears have been digging up the roots, or see the stubble of plants cropped by browsing deer.