Trientalis borealis

Other names: Northern Starflower

Family: Primrose (Primulaceae) family.

Range: Eastern North America

Native: Native

Native Habitat: Woods, slopes, peaty soil

Bloom Time: May to June


This is my favorite late spring forest flower – I love happening upon this in the woods, and will look for it whenever I’m in the right habitat.

Formerly called Lysimachia borealis, and considered to be part of the Myrsinaceae (Yellow Loosestrife family) family. This is a great example of how plant classifications are constantly changing – you can easily find it under any of the above listed names online, and it’s not at all clear which is most current.

One of the few flowers that have seven petals, though they can range from five to ten.

‘Triens’ means ‘the third part”. It’s thought to refer to the plant’s height, which at four inches is a third of a foot.

The seeds must have a period of cold stratification (aka – they really need a real winter), and they will not germinate until their second fall, which lets them be dispersed by insects.

Locations in Photos:

Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, ME
Donnell Pond, Franklin, ME
Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, ME



Minnesota Wildflowers


USDA Plant Profile

Illinois Wildflowers

US Forest Service

Adirondack Wildflowers

jIMG_5155 donnell pond - buds