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This herbaceous perennial plant is ½–2' tall, producing one or more leafy stems that are erect, ascending, or sprawling. The wiry stems branch sparingly, and they are often curved, arching, or crooked. Young stems are whitish green to silver-colored and terete; they are moderately to densely covered with fine pubescence. Older stems are brown or purple and sparsely to moderately covered with fine pubescence. Alternate leaves occur along the entire length of each stem, becoming slightly smaller in size as they ascend. The leaves are ½–1¼" long and about 4-8 mm. across; they are oblong to elliptic in shape and entire (smooth) along their margins. The bases of leaves are sessile or clasp their stems slightly, while the tips of leaves are short-acute. Both the upper and lower surfaces of leaves are whitish green to silver-colored; they are moderately to densely covered with appressed fine pubescence. The upper stems terminate in one or more flowerheads. On a robust plant, this inflorescence resembles a little-branched open panicle up to ¾' long that has 6-18 flowerheads, otherwise the inflorescence consists of 1-2 short branches with 1-3 flowerheads at their tips or slightly below. The wiry branches of the inflorescence are terete, whitish green to silver-colored, and moderately to densely covered with fine pubescence. Along the branches of larger inflorescences, there are leafy bracts that resemble the alternate leaves. The daisy-like flowerheads are about 1¼" across, consisting of 10-22 ray florets that surround numerous disk florets. The petaloid rays of the flowerheads are linear-oblong in shape, widely spreading, and lavender, deep lavender, or various shades of purple. The tiny corollas of the disk florets are tubular in shape with 5 lanceolate lobes along their upper rims; these lobes are erect to ascending. During the period of bloom, the corollas of the disk florets are white to pale pinkish purple; their anther tubes are yellow and their stigmas are lavender to purple. The blooming period occurs from late summer into autumn, lasting about 1 month for a colony of plants. Afterwards, the florets are replaced by achenes. These achenes are 2-3 mm. long and bullet-shaped with small tufts of hair at their apices; they are dispersed by the wind. The root system is fibrous and occasionally rhizomatous; older plants form short caudices. Occasionally, clonal offsets are produced from rhizomes. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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