- Author: Robert J Keiffer
It's that time of year again ... for wildflowers. If one is very lucky while meandering under the canopy of the mixed oak woodlands here at the UC Hopland Research & Extension Center you may stumble upon a small population of Bolander's Woodland Star (Lithophragma bolanderi). This dainty, bright white, native flower is usually found in the partial-shaded understory of hardwood forest.
This unique plant is endemic to California. It was first described in the literature by Henry Nicholas Bolander (1831-1897), a botanist whose name is attached to many plants in California. The genus name Lithophragma is derived from the two Greek words litho (meaning "a stone") and phragma (meaning "a wall"). Some plants in this genus do, in fact, grow near rock walls in other parts of the world, but our California species typically do not.
Other common names for this plant are: Hillstar and Sierra Star. What is unique about this species is that the petals are typically smooth and rounded, whereas most other California woodland stars have cleft petals.