Growing from a tuft of basal leaves, a slender shoot bears clusters of nodding magenta flowers with reflexed petals around a dark column of stamens and style. A native of prairies along the west coast, plants dies back to the ground after the spring rains cease and lie dormant during the dry summer season. As a result, they need well drained soil. The generic name, Dodecatheon, comes from Greek words meaning twelve gods, probably the Olympians and may refer to the fact that the flowers resemble the thunderbolts that are associated with Zeus, the king of the gods and chief Olympian.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Pendant, magenta flowers are produced in clusters on slender stems in early spring and have reflexed petals around a prominent column of dark stamens and style.

Foliage: Basal rosette of thick oval leaves

Size: 1 ½ ’ H x 1’ W

Light: Sun to part shade

Soil: Humus rich, moist when blooming, well-drained; dry in summer

Hardiness: Zones 7-9

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed (difficult to germinate and may take 3-5 years to flower); division in winter

Companion plant: White fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum).

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By Karen