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This herbaceous perennial plant is about 1-2' tall. In mature plants, the central stem divides into 2 or 3 side stems, while immature plants usually remain undivided. The upper portion of each plant tends to nod downward because of the weight of the leaves and flowers. The terete stems are glabrous and glaucous; they are light green or pale reddish green. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 2" across. They are oblong-ovate to elliptic, smooth along their margins, and parallel-veined. The base of each leaf is perfoliate – it completely surrounds the stem. The upper surface of each leaf is pale green to green and glabrous, while the lower surface is white to greenish white and finely short-pubescent (canescent). In mature plants, each side stem terminates with a single flower that has an elongated bell-like shape. The flowers are about 1-2" long and they hang downward from slender pedicels about 1" long. The pedicels are similar to the stems, except they are more slender. Each flower consists of 6 pale yellow to yellow tepals, 6 stamens, and a pistil with a tripartite style. The slender tepals are slightly twisted and greenish toward the base of the flower, while their interior surface is smooth and hairless. The yellow anthers of the stamens are large and elongated, but they remain mostly hidden by the tepals. The blooming period occurs during the mid-spring and lasts about 2 weeks. The flowers are slightly fragrant. Each flower is replaced by a 3-celled seed capsule that is obovoid in shape with 3 rounded lobes and a rounded tip; each cell of this capsule contains several seeds. The root system is rhizomatous, from which vegetative offsets are often produced. This plant occasionally forms colonies. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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