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Brodiaea stellaris

(Star-Flower Brodiaea)


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Threat status

Common Names

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Common Names in English:

Star-Flower Brodiaea, Star Brodiaea, Star-Flower Cluster-Lily, Starflower Brodiaea


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Genus Brodiaea

Herbs, perennial , scapose , from fibrous-coated corms. Leaves 1-6, basal; blade linear , crescent-shaped in cross section . Scape solitary, cylindrical, usually slender, occasionally stout, rigid . Inflorescences umbellate , open, bracteate ; bracts scarious , not enclosing flower buds. Flowers: perianth 6-tepaled, distinctly connate proximally into tube , shiny, abaxial perianth usually bluish purple, tube narrowly campanulate or funnelform , outer 3 lobes narrower than inner 3; stamens 3, epitepalous, opposite inner perianth lobes, alternating with 3 staminodia (staminodia absent in B . orcuttii) opposite outer perianth lobes; filaments adnate to perianth tube, linear, base sometimes dilated to form triangular flap, or sometimes with abaxial wings or appendages ; anthers basifixed , appressed to style; pistil 3-carpellate; ovary superior, green (purple in B. jolonensis), sessile, 3-locular, ovules several; style erect; stigma 3-lobed, lobes distinctly spreading and recurved; pedicel erect , articulate at base. Fruits capsular , ovoid , dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds black, rounded to flattened, coat with crust with longitudinal surface striations . x = 6, 8, 12, 16, 18, 20, or 24.

Species 14: w North America including Mexico (Baja California).

Two schools of thought have existed regarding generic limits within the complex of species recognized under Brodiaea, Triteleia, and Dichelostemma: a single large genus (Brodiaea s.l.) with three subgenera (S. Watson 1879; W. L. Jepson 1923-1925; P. A. Munz 1959), or three separate genera (E. L. Greene 1886; R. F. Hoover 1939; G. Keator 1967, 1989, 1993; T. F. Niehaus 1971, 1980). Recent molecular, anatomical, and developmental evidence supports neither of these views . Bloomeria is related to Triteleia, and Brodiaea is closely related to Dichelostemma, with the only hexandrous species, D. capitatum, being sister to the rest of the three-staminate Brodiaea/Dichelostemma clade (R. Y. Berg 1978, 1996; J. C. Pires 2000). This recent evidence also suggests that the sections presently established within Brodiaea are in need of revision ; thus a sectional classification is not utilized in this treatment (R. F. Hoover 1939b; T. F. Niehaus 1971; J. C. Pires 2000).

Polyploidy and ecological specialization to serpentine and other unique substrates is common in Brodiaea, resulting in several rare and endangered species. Eleven of the fourteen species are restricted to California, where the flowering date is highly dependent on the amount of moisture in the early spring . Several species are exceedingly variable. Corms of some species were eaten by native Americans. Among the most important diagnostic characters within Brodiaea are features of the androecium, particularly the size and shape of the staminodia and apical filament appendages. These characters are easily seen with a hand lens in the field . When collecting flowering specimens, one should make a point of mounting a few dissected flowers in a manner that displays these critical characters.[1]

Physical Description

Species Brodiaea stellaris

Scape 2-6 cm, slender. Flowers 14-24 mm; perianth bluish purple, tube campanulate , 7-10 mm, transparent, not splitting in fruit, lobes ascending , recurved distally, 7-15 mm; filaments 1-3 mm, base not triangular, apex forked with 2 conspicuous , broad, white, abaxial appendages appearing as wings behind anthers ; anthers linear , 4-6 mm, apex notched ; staminodia erect , held close to stamens, white, broad, 4-8 mm, wide, margins 1/4 involute , apex widely notched; ovary 6-9 mm; style 4-5 mm; pedicel 1-5 cm. 2n = 12. [source]

Brodiaea stellaris is a serpentine endemic found in mixed evergreen and redwood forests in the North Coast Ranges of California. The white, glossy, forked appendages on the filaments of this species are very different from those found in B . appendiculata and B. californica and perhaps are not homologous. Also, the capsule is unique in the genus in that it does not split at maturity and is transparent. All other members of the genus have mature capsules that either split and are transparent, or do not split and are opaque . [source]

Habit: Forb/herb

Flowers: Bloom Period: February, March, April, May, June.


Openings in coastal forests , on serpentine; 0--900 m [2].


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Duration: Perennial


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Hookera stellaris (S. Watson) Greene


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 06-Jan-2005

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Brodiaea

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 24 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

B. appendiculata (Appendage Brodiaea) · B. californica (California Brodiaea) · B. californica var. californica (California Brodiaea) · B. californica var. leptandra (California Brodiaea) · B. coronaria (Cascade Lily) · B. coronaria coronaria (Crown Brodiaea) · B. coronaria rosea (Indian Valley Brodiaea) · B. coronaria subsp. rosea (Indian Valley Brodiaea) · B. elegans (Elegant Brodiaea) · B. elegans hooveri (Harvest Brodiaea) · B. elegans subsp. hooveri (Hoover's Brodiaea) · B. filifolia (Thread-Leaved Brodiaea) · B. insignis (Kaweah Brodiaea) · B. jolonensis (Chaparral Brodiaea) · B. kinkiensis (San Clemente Island Brodiaea) · B. minor (Dwarf Brodiaea) · B. orcuttii (Orcutt's Brodiaea) · B. pallida (Chinese Camp Brodiaea) · B. purdyi (Sierra Brodiaea) · B. stellaris (Star-Flower Brodiaea) · B. terrestris (Crown Brodiaea) · B. terrestris kernensis (Dwarf Brodiaea) · B. terrestris terrestris (Dwarf Brodiaea) · B. terrestris subsp. kernensis (Kern Brodiaea)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 28, 2008:



  1. J. Chris Pires "Brodiaea". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 20, 53, 55, 321, 326, 328, 331, 332, 336, 3. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Brodiaea stellaris". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 322, 323, 327. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06