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Stellaria umbellata
Stellaria umbellata (Umbrella Starwort)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Upper montane, sub-alpine, alpine.  Forests, moist areas, tundra. Summer.
Ophir Pass Road, July 20, 2006.

As common as this plant is, I passed it by for years -- probably thinking it was Bedstraw, Galium boreale -- or not even noticing it.   I should have looked more closely, because this is a strangely interesting plant.   Stems often lean and twist over each other, sometimes forming a matted thicket two to ten inches tall and six inches wide.  Petal-less dainty earring flowers dangle from umbrella spokes; five sepals are green with light margins (see bottom flower in the photograph below).  William Weber notes that the plant is "extremely variable" in appearance and Stanley Welsh notes that it is "one of the most common species of Stellaria in Utah".

The plant was named by Porphir Turczaninow (1796-1864) in 1842.

Stellaria umbellata (Umbrella Starwort)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Upper montane, sub-alpine, alpine.  Forests, moist areas, tundra. Summer.
Ophir Pass Road, July 20, 2006.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Stellaria umbellata