Species Factsheets

Stellaria borealis

Boreal Starwort

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State Status: Pennsylvania Threatened (PT)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Threatened (PT)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S2

Did You Know?

This species may become infected with an anther smut that causes the anthers to become swollen and reddish in color.

Stellaria borealis


Boreal starwort (Stellaria borealis) is a small, slender, rather delicate perennial that is usually less than 45cm in height. The leaves have a lance or linear-lance shape and are oppositely arranged. The flowers are only a few millimeters long, often lack petals, and are grouped individually or in a cluster that are present from May to August. The fruit is a many-seeded capsule. Other species in the genus Stellaria have a similar general appearance and also grow in wetlands.

Rank Justification

Imperiled in the nation or state because of rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the nation or state.


Boreal starwort has been given a status of Undetermined on the Plants of Special Concern in Pennsylvania list by the Pennsylvania Biological Survey and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, based on the relatively few historical and recent records that have been documented in the state.


The species grows in wet soil in and around seeps, springs, and streamlets in cool woods and swamps.

Survey Dates

Flowers May - August


It occurs mainly in the northern and mountain counties in Pennsylvania.



More field work is needed in order to determine if the species should be of conservation concern. The plant is easily overlooked due to its inconspicuous appearance and wetland habitat.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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