Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Trientalis borealis Raf.; also Lysimachia borealis (Raf.) U. Manns & A. Anderb.

Common name(s): starflower

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile , NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

-primrose family

-spreads by creeping rhizomes

-leaves are:

  • simple
  • whorled
  • entire to finely toothed

– typically has 7 petals, but can range 5-10

– generally flowers spring to mid-June in ME

– generally fruits June to August in ME


-deciduous and coniferous forests

-shaded moist woods

-successional old fields

-also can thrive in dry, sandy, acidic soils


-pollinated by native bees

Natural History:

-its Latin name means “one third of a foot” which corresponds to its average height



Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.

Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Stritch, Larry. “Starflower (Trientalis Borealis Raf.).” Plant of the Week, U.S. Forest Service,