Lysimachia borealis (Starflower)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Myrsinaceae (Myrsine)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; moist, rich woods
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:4 to 8 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flowers] Star-shaped white flower at the end of a slender naked stalk that arises from the leaf joint at the top of the plant. Individual flowers are ½ inch across, have 6 to 8 petals, with 7 petals most common, and yellow-tipped stamens that turn brown with maturity. One plant commonly has 1 or 2 flowers.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 5 to 9 leaves (commonly 7) of unequal size are in a single whorl at the top of the main stem, just below the flowers. Leaves are up to 4 inches long and 1¼ inch wide, toothless and hairless, with a pointed tip and tapering at the base. There may be a few small leafy appendages alternately attached on the otherwise naked main stem.


Starflower tends to grow in colonies. Formerly known as Trientalis borealis and in the Primulaceae (Primrose) family, it has been shuffled around to new species name Lysimachia borealis (same genus as the yellow Loosestrifes) and moved to the Myrsinaceae (Myrsine) family.

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Landscape Alternatives
  • ReWild Native Gardens
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds

More photos

photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN May 2008


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve, Oakdale, MN
on: 2010-06-13 13:34:38

May 2010 - Most flowers have 7-8 petals, but some have 9! See

Posted by: Noelle - Ely
on: 2012-06-04 21:32:53

Found them along the entrance road to the International Wolf Center.

Posted by: Lou - Moose Lake, MN
on: 2012-06-05 13:39:26

These are all around our cabin - a lovely carpet!

Posted by: Patricia - Isanti, MN
on: 2013-06-05 20:42:00

Found these littel flowers while walking through our woods.

Posted by: Daniel
on: 2013-08-27 12:03:02

Lysimachia borealis is not even considered at Latin binomial by the Kew or Missouri Botanical Gardens (Tropicos). Trientalis borealis Raf. is the accepted name.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2013-08-28 12:17:22

Daniel, Lysimachia borealis is the name used in the specimen records at the University of Minnesota Bell Herbarium and is listed as the "emerging name" by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on their own official MN species list, so the DNR has plans to make this official at some point as well. We stay in sync with the herbarium where taxonomy is concerned, as they are the experts.

However, you are not the first to challenge the use of this name so I checked with Dr. Anita Cholewa, curator at the herbarium, on the taxonomy for this species. She says it is indeed legitimate and just because it has not yet shown up in Tropicos, USDA-Plants, or ITIS doesn't make it not so.

Hope that clarifies things. In the event the accepted name in MN changes back to Trientalis (or to something else altogether), we will update this web site accordingly.

Posted by: kris driessen - lake shore, mn
on: 2014-06-05 17:50:27

I have a piece of property nearby. To enjoy the nature of it, we had a trail put in around the perimeter. I just discovered this beauty of a little flower today. Nice. Im only adding MN native flowers to my trail, but many are there natural.

Posted by: Lee and Ed - Seguin, Ontario, Canada
on: 2014-06-09 14:38:16

These just arrived here lately (I think). Lovely little stars and we have one small patch where they grow. thanks for the information. (Our community is near the eastern shore of Georgian Bay.) All our flowers so far are 7 petals and 5 leaves, different sizes, per flower. Usually 1 flower to a stem.

Posted by: Laurie - Lake Netta Park in Ham Lake, MN
on: 2015-05-18 08:30:59

This was a new find for me. Lovely little flowers!

Posted by: Debra - Lakeland township near Cumberland, WI
on: 2015-05-20 16:15:49

Grows all over our pine forest.

Posted by: Keith - Wirt
on: 2015-05-29 20:57:04

Found under our red pines along Bass Lake.

Posted by: Karen - Grace Lake, between Cass Lake and Bemidji
on: 2015-05-29 21:44:30

These grow at the edge of the woods surrounding our cabin-beautiful!

Posted by: luciearl - Fairview Township
on: 2015-06-13 22:27:07

These grow in our woods.

Posted by: Nancy - Lake Hattie, Backus, MN
on: 2016-05-31 10:52:42

I saw these this past weekend, still blooming at my parents' cabin. Beautiful.

Posted by: Tracy - Wisconsin Rapids, WI
on: 2016-06-02 22:30:56

Found one of these in our back yard! Never saw them before. Cute little buggers!

Posted by: penny M - Lino Lakes
on: 2017-05-23 12:26:30

Just discovered a sweet little patch of these delicate flowers on our property not far from a large group of blooming bluebead lily's.

Posted by: Marisa - Wyoming, MN
on: 2017-05-30 19:13:45

Found these blooming in late May below our edge pines in on the edge of our lawn. Very pretty & easily identifiable!

Posted by: Gerard - Banning State Park
on: 2019-06-11 20:46:03

Found some right near the Kettle river.

Posted by: Catherine - Moose Lake near Deer River
on: 2020-06-06 18:52:54

Have these growing in the woods near my cabin. Not all the stars are in the sky - these pretty little stars are on the forest floor!

Posted by: Jane Johnson - Tofte
on: 2020-06-07 11:58:08

Seen on our back road

Posted by: John Lawrey - Bay Lake, MN
on: 2020-06-07 14:36:00

A familiar friend, and one that lives up to its name. Seen growing in the woods.

Posted by: Darcy P - Found in northern Wisconsin 👍
on: 2022-05-30 15:17:58

Found near Binder Lake just outside of Lakewood, Wisconsin

Posted by: Sherman - Right in Duluth
on: 2022-06-01 19:07:37

The woods in my back yard are FULL of these, especially the higher ground among the Maples and Basswood trees.

Posted by: Jon - Lake County
on: 2023-06-04 19:42:13

These grow abundantly and are in bloom now (June 4th) along the SHT in SW Lake County.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.