A Prairie Plant with Attitude

Sycamore, IL—Spring is in the air, the birds are singing, the days are warming up, and the flowers are blooming… well, not all the flowers. In fact, there’s one in particular that holds out until it’s good and ready: the Shooting Star. Professor Paul Sorensen will share his passion for this prairie species during a lecture at the Midwest Museum of Natural History on Saturday, May 1 at 2:00 entitled “Shooting Star: the Prairie Plant with Attitude.” The lecture is free with museum admission.

In the wild, the Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia) takes a long time to mature due to short periods of growth and long periods of dormancy each year. When it finally does bloom, it does so reliably in early May. It is a plant for the patient gardener, taking five to seven years (or longer) to go from seed to blossom. Experiments under artificial growing conditions have shown that they can be manipulated to mature more quickly. However, the Shooting Star takes its time for a good reason. Join us on May 1 to learn more and find out where you can see this beautiful blossom!

Paul Sorensen earned his PhD from the University of Iowa. He is a professor emeritus in the Biological Sciences Department at Northern Illinois University, Curator of the NIU Herbarium, and the Curator of Botany at Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford.

The Midwest Museum of Natural History is a non-profit organization. Our mission is to inspire an appreciation for the great diversity of the natural environment and human culture through education and recreation. To learn more about The Midwest Museum of Natural History, visit www.mmnh.org.

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