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DescriptionThis native perennial wildflower is 2½5' tall, erect, and unbranched. The central stem is medium green, glabrous to short-pubescent, and terete. Numerous alternate leaves are arranged densely around the stem; they are widely spreading. The lower leaves are up to 12" long and 1½" across; they are broadly linear to elliptic oblong in shape. The middle to upper leaves become gradually smaller as they ascend the stem, becoming linear in shape and as little as 3" long. All of the leaves are medium green and their margins are smooth; they are usually hairless, except for their margins, which are often slightly ciliate. The lower leaves usually have petioles, while the middle to upper leaves are sessile. The inflorescence consists of a narrow raceme of flowerheads up to 2' long. The flowerheads begin to bloom from the top of inflorescence, then they gradually bloom below until the bottom is reached. Each inflorescence has 10-40 flowerheads. Each flowerhead is located at the apex of an ascending stalk (peduncle) about ½3½" long; a stalk may branch to produce 2-3 flowerheads, but this is atypical. At the base of each stalk, there is a sessile leafy bract that resembles the upper leaves. Both the central stalk and lateral stalks of the raceme are short-pubescent. Individual flowerheads span 1-2" across, consisting of 25-80 pink disk florets and no ray florets. The tubular disk florets have 5 spreading narrow lobes. The bifurcated styles are light pink and strongly exerted from the disk florets, providing the flowerheads with a shaggy appearance. At the base of each flowerhead, there are scale-like floral bracts (phyllaries) that are arranged together in about 5 overlapping series; they are ascending to slightly spreading, but neither recurved nor appressed. Individual floral bracts are oval or obovate in shape and ciliate along their margins; they become dark reddish purple when their flowerheads bloom, otherwise they are dull green. The blooming period occurs from late summer to mid-fall and lasts about 1½ months. The disk florets are replaced by bullet-shaped achenes, which have tufts of barbed tawny hairs. The root system consists of a bulb-like corm with fibrous roots. Vegetative offsets are produced from new corms.