IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial plant is 2-5' tall and unbranched, except for short stems bearing flowerheads in the upper half. The stout central stem is slightly ridged and covered with white hairs. The trifoliate leaves occur alternately along the stem on short petioles. Each leaflet is up to 3" long and 1" across, usually ovate in shape, with smooth margins, widely scattered white hairs, and a prominent central vein. Sometimes the surface of the leaves has a silky sheen. The apex of the central stem and some upper side stems terminate in elongated heads of flowers about 2-5" long and half as much across. Each flowerhead has numerous hairy bracts, from which the small white flowers barely protrude. Each flower is a little less than ½" long, and has 5 white petals with a patch of purple near its throat. There is a large upper petal and two smaller side petals, while the remaining petals are usually hidden from view. There is no floral scent. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall and lasts about a month. After blooming, the flowerheads gradually turn brown. The root system consists of a central taproot. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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