In September 1852 young Scottish plant hunter John Jeffrey came across an attractive flowering plant in northern California. After samples were received by his sponsors at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh it was named in his honour.

In this short film I am reading from John Jeffrey’s journals which were lost for 160 years and through my book GREEN GOLD will be revealed for the first time.

Jeffrey’s shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) is also known as Sierra shooting star or tall mountain shooting star. Its glowing pink flowers, which appear between April and June, look like shooting stars with their swept-back petals. They are held aloft on long slender stems above a rosette of wrinkled oblong leaves. This plant becomes dormant immediately after flowering. It prefers shade or partial sun, and medium moisture. Its spring flowers and early season dormancy makes it a perfect companion among perennials which emerge later in the garden, particularly among a rock garden or meadow.

The flowers of Jeffrey’s shooting star were considered to bring good fortune by some native American people, who used them as love charms. It is one of a few plants that is fertilised thanks to ‘buzz pollination‘ where the plant releases pollen when stimulated by the wingbeats of a bee.

The discovery of this beautiful flower is only one feature in the amazing true story from the adventures of John Jeffrey, the main character in my new book Green Gold. Subscriber offers are currently available. Visit


Green Gold on

Paperback Super Patron (1st edition paperback, ebook edition and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the book) plus a personal letter of thanks from the author together with a pack of Dodecatheon jeffreyi seeds. Find out more

If you’re interested in growing your own shooting star plant, then you may be lucky to find some seeds of Jeffrey’s shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi), but more usually some of the related species of shooting star are more commonly available.  For example: Dodecatheon meadia, available from Thompson & Morgan


  1. Hello, I have a story to tell about this flower. What makes me sad is that i see no videos of the scene I am about to describe. In your life, I hope you get the chance to see what I saw.
    Looking at a field of sparsely grown (by nature) Shooting Stars. I happened to view them, not standing above them looking down, but horizontally with my eye level equal to their height, at which level all of the Shoting Stars appeared as a blanket covering the field.i was even unable to see the ground. These sparsely grown plants became one over the whole field.
    Then, a slow wind blew through so that “hanging” flowers became like weather vanes, and aeronautics blew the flowers to a horizontal position with the leaves trailing while the air blew past the tip, or cone, of the flower; the little tiny bands of color united together as one as each band of wind lifted them and back again a te wind dissipated. In united bands like a marching bands rows the colors solidified and ebbed. To my eyes and my mind, what I saw was a shooting star. A shooting star like s real shooting star in the sky. A blazing ball of fire trail by a red hot tail hurling through space.
    That was in 1986. And to this day, I can’t forget what i saw.

    I wish someone could film this event for all the world to see.

    1. Author

      Ralph – you have painted such a beautiful picture in words that I feel no film is necessary. Sometimes the camera is a distraction to the eye and diminishes the here and now of an experience. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful vision. Gabriel

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