Hesperochiron

Happy May Day!

It seems only appropriate to mention a flower today.

Another very early spring flower, hesperochiron (Hesperochiron pumilus), does not have a common name. It flowers very briefly in the early spring and the plants are often hidden by larger plants. Thus, although hesperochiron is not a rare plant, it is not frequently observed and for that reason may not have a popular name.

A member of the waterleaf family, there are two native species of hesperochiron. This perennial grows in wet areas such as swales or seepy meadows up to about 9,000 feet throughout the sagebrush steppe.

The elliptical leaves are coated with tiny hairs and grow in a basal leaf rosette. Each flower is borne on a separate stalk and is composed of five white petals that are marked with noticeable dark veining. The petals are fused at their base into a short tube. The center of the flower is bright yellow. Black or purple pollen colors the five stamens. The entire hesperochiron plant is only 1 to 4 inches tall. Beautiful!

As far as I know there are no food or medicinal uses for hesperochiron.

This picture was taken near the Lower Campground at Ash Creek (Lassen County CA).

Enjoy one of my favorite spring wildflowers for May Day!

Gallery | This entry was posted in Wildflowers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Hesperochiron

  1. Pingback: California Herperochiron | The Nature Niche

  2. Lin says:

    Thank you for the “May basket” flower…pretty little one !!!

  3. usermattw says:

    I was intrigued by the name, since it sounded mythological, so I looked up the parts. In ancient Greek mythology, Hesperos was the evening star (Venus), and Chiron was the leading centaur. I can see how this flower looks like a star at least, but I’m not sure how they came up with the whole name. Regardless, it’s a pretty flower!

    • gingkochris says:

      I too wondered about the derivation of the genus. Thank you for doing some research. You are right, the star part makes some sense, but I cannot figure out where a centaur fits in.

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