Starflower is a member of the Primrose family. The genus name Trientalis is from the Latin meaning “one third of a foot” which corresponds to the plant’s average height. The species name borealisrefers to being from the north, although this plant is also distributed in the Midwest and the higher elevations of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Starflower is a perennial herb that grows from slender, creeping rhizomes. Leaves are simple and occur in whorls of 5 to 9 at the tip of the stem. They are stalk less or on very short stalks and are entire to very finely-toothed. The flowers may occur as a single bloom or sometimes 2 to 3 blooms on slender stalks 3/4 to 2 inches long. Flowers are snow white with 5 to 9 petals and approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter.