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Description

 This perennial wildflower is 1-2½' tall and usually unbranched, except toward the apex where the flowers occur. Often a cluster of leafy stems originate from the same taproot. The rather stout stems are light green, very hairy, and either terete or shallowly grooved. Along each stem, there are 12 or more alternate leaves that are ascending to widely spreading. Individual leaves are 1½-3" long, ¼-¾" across, pale green to dark green, and sessile; they are narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate with margins that are toothless and ciliate. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are hairy. The upper stems terminate in curved racemes of flowers, forming together a flat-headed cluster of flowers. Each flower is about ¾" across, consisting of a yellow to orange-yellow corolla with 5 large rounded lobes, a green hairy calyx with 5 linear-lanceolate teeth, 5 inserted stamens, and a pistil with an inserted style. The tubular corolla has a narrow throat with widely spreading lobes; it is minutely hairy just below the opening of the throat. On some plants, the flowers have long stamens and short styles, while the flowers of other plants have short stamens and long styles. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer, lasting about 4 weeks. There is no noticeable floral scent. Afterwards, each flower is replaced by 4 shiny white nutlets (or sometimes fewer) that are visible from above. They are distributed by gravity and usually remain near the mother plant. The root system consists of a short stout taproot that is red to reddish purple. This wildflower reproduces by reseeding itself.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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