Sticky Starwort

A member of the pink family, sticky starwort (Pseudostellaria jamesiana) is also commonly known as tuber starwort. This perennial has a weak stem that grows from tuberous rhizomes. It can be found in conifer forests and other moist, shaded areas, often near streams, in the Rockies and states west of the Rockies as well as Texas.

The opposite leaves of sticky starwort are lance shaped with long, tapering, pointed tips. The flowers are borne on branches that arise from the leaf axes and have 5 pointed green sepals, 10 stamens and a single pistil.The five white petals are deeply notched. Most of the plant, except occasionally the lower portion, is covered in glandular hairs.

Sticky starwort was originally placed in the Stellaria genus. Subsequently, since it did not actually belong in that genus, it was later classified as Pseudostellaria. Therefore a synonym for sticky starwort is Stellaria jamesiana – false stellaria.

Even though sticky starwort is reputed to be edible as a potherb or green, I have never, because of the glandular nature of the plant, had a desire to taste it. Sticky starwort may also contain saponins which can be toxic.

Edwin P James (1797-1861), an American naturalist and explorer, is honored with the species name jamesiana.

These sticky starworts were growing near Ash Creek (Lassen County CA).

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