Shooting stars are common wildflowers of North America, where 13 species reside. Most occur in moist meadows or streamsides in the mountains, but some can be found on drier forest slopes and in sage brush that are moist in the spring. They can be easily grown in the native garden. The flowers of all species are pink except for the white shooting star (Dodecatheon dentatum), which is white. Rare albinos of other species do occur however.
The genus name Dodecatheon is from the Greek dodeka, twelve and theos, god, the plant protected by the Greek gods.