Hypoxis hirsuta (Yellow Star-grass)
|Also known as:||Yellow-eyed Grass, Common Goldstar|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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.
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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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Lost Valley SNA, Washington County. Photos courtesy 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?