IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is about 3-4' tall and unbranched, except near the inflorescence. The stout central stem is hairless, and often has red and green stripes running along its length. The alternate leaves are up to 8" long and 4" across, becoming smaller and fewer as they ascend the central stem. Their texture is thick and rubbery. These leaves are hairless and broadly ovate. Their margins are smooth or have widely spaced blunt teeth; they are often whitish or reddish in appearance. At the apex of the plant, the inflorescence branches into several flattened clusters of greenish white flowerheads, each cluster spanning 2-6" across. Each flowerhead within a cluster looks like an unopened bud – however, closer inspection reveals 5 white flowers surrounded by 5 green bracts with white stripes. The corolla of each tiny flower is divided into 5 lobes. There is no noticeable scent to these flowers. The blooming period lasts about a month and occurs from early to mid-summer. The root system is tuberous and coarsely fibrous.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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