IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This biennial plant is usually unbranched and 3-8' tall. The central stem is terete and glabrous, light green or reddish green (sometimes with purple streaks), and often glaucous. The alternate leaves are light green to dark green, sometimes with purple edges or a yellowish cast. They are up to 10" long, 3" across, and lanceolate-oblong in shape. The largest leaves have deep pinnate lobes, while the smaller leaves have shallow pinnate lobes or none; they are wider at their bases than at their tips, and their bases clasp the stem. Occasionally, the leaves have widely spaced small teeth along their margins and short fine hairs along the underside of their central veins. The leaf surface can be shiny or dull.  The small dandelion-like flowerheads occur in a narrow panicle up to 2' long at the apex of the plant. The petaloid rays of the florets are yellow or slightly reddish orange. Each flowerhead is about 1/3" (8 mm.) across, consisting of 12-25 ray florets. Around the base of each flowerhead, there are several floral bracts (phyllaries) in several series that are appressed together and vary in size. These bracts are light green and glabrous; sometimes they are tinted purple or red. The blooming period occurs during late summer or early fall, lasting about 3-4 weeks. There is no noticeable floral scent. The flowers are replaced by dark brown achenes with tufts of white hair, which are attached together by thread-like beaks. Each achene has a central longitudinal ridge with some black splotches on either side; they are ovoid, flattened in shape, and slightly curved. The length of the achenes is equal to, or greater than, the length of their attached beaks. The inflorescence often has buds, flowers, and achenes existing together in different stages of development. The achenes are distributed by the wind. The root system consists of a thick deep taproot. There is a white latex in the root, leaves, and stems. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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