IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is up to 5' tall and unbranched, except at the inflorescence. The central stem is round and smooth. The leaves usually occur in whorls of 3-7 along the stem, although some of the upper leaves may occur along the stem in pairs or alternate individually. The leaves are individually up to 5" long and ¾" across. They are lanceolate or narrowly ovate, with smooth margins and parallel venation. Above the terminal leaves of the central stem, 1-6 flowers hang downwad from stalks about 3-5" long that spread upward and outward. Some flowering stalks may also appear from the axils of the upper leaves. Each showy flower is about 2½-3" across, with 6 tepals that flare outward and then curve strongly backward toward the base of the flower. These tepals are yellowish to reddish orange, and have numerous brownish purple dots toward the throat of the flower. The stamens are conspicuous and strongly exerted from the throat of the flower, with reddish brown anthers that are ½" or less. A long white stigma with a curves slightly upward; it has a yellow tip. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer, and lasts about a month. There is no noticeable floral scent. The oblong 3-lobed seedpods contain closely stacked, flat seeds with thin papery wings – this enables them to be carried some distance by gusts of wind. The root system consists of a yellow bulb and rhizomes, from which new offsets may form.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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