Dodecatheon pulchellum (Raf.) Merr.
Shooting Star, Darkthroat Shooting Star, Few-flower Shooting Star, Western Shooting Star
Shooting stars are native to the western United States, in desert habitats. They are found in saline swamps, damp grasslands, streambanks, and mountain meadows. Bees buzz-pollinate these flowers, vibrating wing muscles at a specific frequency to forcefully shake pollen from the anthers.
Plants: Perennials, 1¾-16" (5-40 cm) tall.
Flowers: Groups of 1-25 flowers appear in a cluster at the top of the stem. The corolla—the whorl of 5 petals—is swept way back, completely covering the calyx and much of the stem, as if facing a strong wind. The corolla is ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) long, and lavendar or magenta (rarely white). The petals fuse together into a ring about ¹/₁₆" (2 mm) wide at their base, yellow, usually with an uneven band of purple. Projecting forward from this is a yellow to reddish-purple tube, ⅛-¼" (4-7 mm) long. Flowers appear from April to August.
Fruits: Capsules, tan to light brown, sometimes speckled with red or maroon, ⅛-½" (5-14 mm) × ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm), thin-walled.
Dodecatheon pulchellum on Wikipedia
Dodecatheon pulchellum on Turner Photographics' Wildflowers site
Dodecatheon pulchellum on Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah
Dodecatheon pulchellum on eFloras
Dodecatheon pulchellum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 13 Jul 2017.