Yellow Star-grass – Flowers

(Hypoxis hirsuta) Amaryllis family

(H. erecta of Gray)

Flowers—Bright yellow within, greenish and hairy outside, about 1/2 in. across, 6-parted; the perianth divisions spreading, narrowly oblong; a few flowers at the summit of a rough, hairy scape 2 to 6 in. high. Leaves: All from an egg-shaped corm; mostly longer than scapes, slender, grass-like, more or less hairy.

Preferred Habitat—Dry, open woods, prairies, grassy waste places, fields.

Flowering Season—May—October.

Distribution—From Maine far westward, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

Usually only one of these little blossoms in a cluster on each plant opens at a time; but that one peers upward so brightly from among the grass it cannot well be overlooked. Sitting in a meadow sprinkled over with these yellow stars, we see coming to them many small bees—chiefly Halictus—to gather pollen for their unhatched babies’ bread. Of course they do not carry all the pollen to their tunnelled nurseries; some must often be rubbed off on the sticky pistil tip in the centre of other stars. The stamens radiate, that self-fertilization need not take place except as a last extremity. Visitors failing, the little flower closes, bringing its pollen-laden anthers in contact with its own stigma.