IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This perennial wildflower forms a low rosette of basal leaves, from which there develops an erect flowering stalk about 1½-3' tall. The basal leaves are 2-7" long and ¼-1" across; they are lanceolate-oblong, elliptic-oblong, or oblanceolate-oblong in shape and smooth along their margins. The basal leaves are pale green to yellowish green and glabrous; their venation is parallel. Along the lower half of the flowering stalk, there are widely-spaced alternate leaves that are less than 1" long and 1/8" across; they are lanceolate in shape, pale green to yellowish green, glabrous, and thin-textured. The lower half of the flowering stalk is pale green to yellowish green, glabrous, and terete. Along the upper half of the flowering stalk, is a spike-like raceme of flowers about ½-1½' long. Each flower is 7-10 mm. in length, consisting of a 6 white tepals with  slightly recurved tips, 6 inserted stamens, and a pistil. The elongated tepals are joined together, except at their tips, forming a narrow tubular shape. The outer white surfaces of the tepals have a texture that is conspicuously warty-mealy. At the base of each flower, there is a short slender pedicel. At the base of each pedicel, there is a slender deciduous bract about 2-3 mm. in length. The central stalk of the raceme is pale green, shallowly grooved, and often pubescent. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer, lasting about a month. Afterwards, small ovoid seed capsules develop that become 3-5 mm. in length. Each seed capsule is 3-celled and contains numerous tiny seeds about 0.5 mm. in length. Each seed capsule splits open toward its apex to release the seeds to the wind. The root system consists of stout rootstock that resembles a rhizome; it has fibrous roots below.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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