Broad-leaved Starflower Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia

Forest-loving groundcover. Leaves from a terminal whorl. Grows 6-12 inches high, from small tuberous rhizomes. Conspicuous white flower is suspended upon an extremely thin stem, giving the illusion that the flower is floating above the plant. Asexual reproduction by tubers is more important than reproduction by seed.


Trientalis latifolia. Photographed by Michelle Margroff. Copyright 2002. All rights reserved.

Dunn Gardens


Range: Southeast Alaska, Coastal British Columbia south along the Western slope of Cascades to Northern California


Climate & Elevation: High winter precipitation and virtually no summer precipitation with fairly moderate temperatures. Found from sea level as high as about 4500 feet in southern portion of distribution


Local Occurrence: Common from BC South. Locally abundant in Douglas-Fir plantations typical of public and private timberlands

Habitat: Moist closed or open conifer or mixed forests, thickets


Plant Strategy Type: Shade tolerant, Seral (residual after logging). Perennial


Associated Species: Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflora), Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa), Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), Vine Maple (Acer circinatum), Whipplevine (Whipplea modesta), Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia), Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum), Dogbane (Apocynum pumilum), Hooker's Fairybells (Disporum hookeri), Swordfern (Polystichum munitum), Hairy Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula), Western Fescue (Festuca occidentalis), Vanilla-leaf (Achlys triphylla)


May Be Collected As: Seed, tubers/rhizomes


Collection Restrictions & Guidelines: Collect seed in late summer, rhizomes in fall/winter. Susceptible to Sudden Oak Death Syndrome, and as such all parts of this plant are quarantined in Northern California. Do not remove from quarantine area.


Seed Germination: No action is required to break dormancy


Seed Life: Short shelf-life


Recommended Seed Storage conditions: Air dry seeds for late summer planting. Stratification results in delayed germination and extended germination time.


Propagation Recommendation: Sow seeds in flats in late summer. Cover with 1/8" soil. Moisten soil. Alternatively, propagate by divisions in early spring.


Soil/Medium Requirements: Loose organic/sandy, acidic soil


Installation Form: Rhizomes/tubers


Recommended Planting Density: Space 2-4 inches apart in large clumps


Care Requirements After Installation: Water weekly if winter and spring are exceptionally dry, otherwise, water once upon installation.


Growth Rate & Lifespan: Can be expected to live 3+ years. Dense patches will persist indefinitely and will expand as a self-sustaining colony.



Anderson, Roger C. and Orie L. Loucks. Aspects of the biology of Trientalis borealis Raf. Ecology: Vol 54, No 4, pp. 798 808.


PLANTS Database.


Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast-Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. B.C. Ministry of Forest and Lone Pine Publishing. 1994.


Data Compiled by Shannon Kachel Spring 2006