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Amsonia tabernaemontana Walter var. salicifolia (Pursh) Woodson

Bluestar, blue dogbane, blue star flower

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderGentianalesGentians, coffee, gardenias, frangipani, many others
FamilyApocynaceaeDogbane family
GenusAmsoniaBluestars; named for botanist Charles Amson
SpeciestabernaemontanaFor the 16th-century German herbalist Jakobus Theodorus Tabernaemontanus
var.salicifoliaSalix (willow)-leaved

About plant names...

Bluestar is native to the central United States. It prefers rocky woodlands and ravines, stream borders, limestone glades, and moist sandy meadows. This variety has nar­rower, willow-like leaves.

Plants: Perennial, 12-36" (30-91 cm), forming large clumps with many branches. Stems are light green, smoothly cylindrical, and hairless.

Leaves: This variety has narrower, willow-like lanceolate leaves. They are bright green above, pale below, 2-4" (5-10 cm) long. Leaves have a petiole (stem) up to 1" (2.5 cm) long.

Flowers: In compact, rounded panicles. Each flower is tubular, opening to a star of five narrow pointed light blue petals ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) around. Flower centers are pale yellow. They appear in May.

Fruits: Cylindrical seed pods are 3-4½" (8-12 cm) long, containing hard, black seeds. Pods are curved and sharp-tipped.

Online References:

Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Amsonia tabernaemontana at Illinois Wildflowers

Amsonia tabernaemontana on fyi.extension.wisc.edu (Great photos and info)

Amsonia tabernaemontana on plants.ces.ncsu.edu

Amsonia tabernaemontana at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Amsonia tabernaemontana on


Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 14

Amsonia salicifolia Pursh


Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Amsonia tabernaemontana (bluestar, blue dogbane, blue star flower)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 16 × 21" (41 × 53 cm)

Range: Zones 3-9:

About this map...