Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Yellow Star-grass - Hypoxis hirsuta   (L.) Coville
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Hypoxidaceae
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Author(L.) Coville
DistributionEssentially statewide, but absent from the extreme northeastern counties. No records yet east of Pasquotank Martin, and Beaufort counties. A single specimen from the Outer Banks (Shackleford Banks) in 1990).

It has a very wide Eastern range, occurring from southern Canada south to southern GA and eastern TX, perhaps being absent in FL.
AbundanceCommon across its range in the state into the central and southern Coastal Plain. Rare to absent in the northeastern and far eastern portions.
HabitatThis star-grass has a great array of dry to mesic habitats and is the default species across the state, even in the Coastal Plain where most of the others are restricted. It favors partly sunny places, such as along woodland borders, openings in woods, margins of trails, and overgrown fields; however, it also is found in meadows, grassy fields, and even inside woodlands. In general, it is not found in wetland habitats, though it can occasionally be found in bottomland forests and savannas; however, because it is so widespread in uplands, it is thankfully outnumbered in savannas by H. wrightii.
PhenologyBlooms from March to June, and very rarely in the fall. Fruits in May and June.
IdentificationThis is the standard Hypoxis species, with the greatest range in the state and far more abundant than all others combined. It has a cluster of hairy basal leaves, which are narrow and grow to about 9-12 inches tall but less than 1/3-inch wide. The flowering stalk grows to about 6-8 inches tall, shorter than the leaves. It is topped by a few to several bright yellow, star-shaped flowers (of 6 tepals) with a spread of about 3/4-inch. The pedicels (flower stalks) are hairy, as well. See other Hypoxis species accounts for differences between those scarce or more localized species and this frequently seen species. All biologists are familiar with this species, though many have perhaps not bothered with separation of the scarce species, owing in some cases to microscopic (i.e., hand lens) differences.
Taxonomic CommentsThough this has always been a good species, in years past one or more of "today's species" were included within it. For example, RAB (1968) included "today's" H.curtissii within it, as H. hirsuta var. leptocarpa; thus, the common form was named as H. hirsuta var. hirsuta. Weakley (2018) lists no varieties or subspecies for H. hirsuta.

Other Common Name(s)Common Star-grass, Eastern Star-grass, Common Goldstar. Note that the generic part of the name is often written as Stargrass, and occasionally as Star Grass, the latter being incorrect usage.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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