Hypoxis hirsuta (Yellow Star-grass)

Plant Info
Also known as: Yellow-eyed Grass, Common Goldstar
Family:Hypoxidaceae (Star-grass)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; wet to dry prairies, open woods
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:8 to 10 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals

[photo of flower] 2 to 6 bright yellow star-shaped flowers on slender, hairy stalks. Flowers vary from ½ to 1 inch across, with 6 softly pointed egg-shaped tepals (petals), the outer 3 greenish and softly hairy on the undersides, and 6 stamens with tips (anthers) shaped like little spear points (sagitate), or an inverted V. The flower stalks diverge from a central point at the top of the stem in a loose cluster (umbel).

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are basal, long and linear, 1/10 to ½ inch wide and up to 10 inches long at time of flowering, covered with sparse fine hairs. Leaves are longer than the flowering stem, which is also hairy to varying degrees. Plants may have multiple flowering stems.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is a round capsule containing many tiny, shiny black seeds.


Yellow Star-grass is easily overlooked until you have discovered them once, then they become an anticipated sign of spring. They can do well in a sunny dry garden spot but do not compete well with larger plants if that is what you must have. Makes for a delightful specimen in some protected garden corner where more aggressive species are kept at bay. Hypoxis was formerly in the Liliaceae (Lily) family but has been split to its own Hypoxidaceae (Star-grass) family.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Lost Valley SNA, Washington County and in Alabama. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Polk and Washington counties, MN, and St. Croix County, WI.


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

Posted by: Jay - Minneapolis
on: 2012-06-05 09:58:04

This species is fairly common in the mesic prairie of the Black Dog Preserve (formerly SNA). You can even find it along the main tail. It is in bloom now (June 5, 2012).

Posted by: Carole - Jim's Prairie, Maplewood MN
on: 2013-07-11 21:24:09

Saw it yesterday, it was a nice surprise! I only saw one plant though...

Posted by: Kimberly - Jackson County
on: 2016-06-08 16:11:01

Found a couple dozen plants about a mile south of Kilen Woods State Park.

Posted by: Kylie Nielsen - Saint Paul
on: 2020-01-21 21:46:31

Is the hypoxis hirsuta plant edible?

Posted by: Frank@Mound - Maple Plain
on: 2022-02-09 19:36:56

It seems to be one for the prairie, shortgrass, but the FACW status and a plate from the Wild Flowers of New York, 1918 edition has it placed with Canada Mayflower and ferns. Scratching my chin.

Posted by: Linda - Schaefer Prairie Nature Conservancy site - McCleod County
on: 2022-06-14 16:05:30

Saw only one plant on 6-12-22 - but it was beautiful!

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