IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is about 2-3' tall and unbranched. The central stem is glabrous, glaucous, and round in circumference; it leans over to one side. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 4" across; they are spaced fairly close together along the stem. These leaves are ovate and glabrous; they have parallel veins and clasp the stem. From the upper axils of the middle and upper leaves, there are nodding umbels of 1-5 flowers (rarely more than this). A typical plant will have 12-20 of these umbels, which hang below the leaves. The peduncle and pedicels of each umbel are slender and green. The flowers are whitish green or pale yellowish green and about 2/3–3/4" in length. Each flower has a narrow tubular shape with 6 small lobes that are slightly recurved. Within the interior of this flower, there is a pistil with a single style and 6 stamens. The blooming period occurs during late spring or early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a spheroid berry that is about 1/3–1/2" across. This berry is initially green, but it eventually becomes dark blue-violet. The root system produces rhizomes that are rather stout and knobby; on the upper surface of these rhizomes, there are circular scars. This plant often forms colonies.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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