PRIMROSE FAMILY - Primulaceae: Star-flower; Chickweed Wintergreen; Star Anemone

Trientalis americana

Flowers--White, solitary, or a few rising on slender, wiry footstalks 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, spreading, petal-like 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 star-flower? 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.