STARFLOWER CHICKWEEDWINTERGREEN STAR ANEMONE
(Trientalis Americana) Primrose family
Flowers - White, solitary, or a few rising on slender, wiry
foot-stalks above a whorl of leaves. Calyx of 5 to 9 (usually 7)
narrow sepals. Corolla wheel-shaped, 1/2 in. across or less,
deeply cut into (usually) 7 tapering,
segments. Stem: A long horizontal rootstock, sending up smooth
stem-like branches 3 to 9 in. high, usually with a scale or two
below. (Trientalis = one-third of a foot, the usual height of a
plant.) Leaves: 5 to 10, in a whorl at summit; thin, tapering at
both ends, of unequal size, 1 1/2 to 4 in. long.
Preferred Habitat - Moist shade of woods and thickets.
Flowering Season - May-June.
Distribution - From Virginia and Illinois far north.
Is any other blossom poised quite so airily above its whorl of
leaves as the delicate, frosty-white little starflower? It is
none of the anemone kin, of course, in spite of one of its
misleading folk names; but only the wind-flower has a similar
lightness and grace. No nectar rewards the small bee and fly
visitors; they get pollen only. Those coming from older blossoms
to a newly opened one leave some of the vitalizing dust clinging
to them on the moist and sticky stigma, which will wither to
prevent self-fertilization before the flower's own curved anthers
mature and shed their grains. Sometimes, when the blossoms do not
run on schedule time, or the insects are not flying in stormy
weather, this well laid plan may gang a-gley. An occasional lapse
matters little; it is perpetual self-fertilization that Nature
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