This native perennial plant is unbranched and ¾–3' tall. Older plants may tiller at the base and send up multiple stems, creating a bushy effect. The central stem is slightly ridged and hairless. The odd-pinnate compound leaves alternate as they ascend the stem. They consist of 3-7 leaflets and tend to be quite short, approximately 2-5" long. Each leaflet is dark green, linear in shape, and about 1" long and 1/8" across. There are scattered translucent dots across the surface. At the top of the plant is a dense cylindrical spike of flowers about 1-2" long and about half as much or less across. Each purple flower is about 1/3" across, with 5 small petals and 5 golden anthers that protrude outward. These flowers bloom together as a flowery wreath at the bottom of the spike, which gradually moves upward at the season progresses. There is no noticeable floral scent. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer, and lasts about 1-1½ months. The root system consists of a stout taproot that runs deep into the ground. The seeds travel only a short distance from the mother plant when the cylindrical spikes are shaken by the wind. Cultivation
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