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Description

This native perennial wildflower is 1-6' tall and either unbranched or sparingly so. The central stem is erect, terete, densely hairy or pubescent, and light green to brownish red. The alternate leaves are up to 4" long and 1½" across; they are ovate, narrowly ovate, ovate-lanceolate, or ovate-oblanceolate in shape with crenate-serrate margins. The upper surfaces of the leaves are deeply indented by pinnate veins; this characteristic provides them with a somewhat wrinkled appearance. Additionally, the upper surfaces of the leaves are slightly pubescent to hairless, medium to dark green, and usually dull-colored. The central stem terminates in a panicle of yellow flowerheads of variable shape and size. Small plants often have narrow panicles that resemble racemes, while large plants often have broad panicles with spreading-recurved branches. The upper stems of some large plants may produce panicles that are smaller than that of the central stem. Each yellow flowerhead spans about 1/8" across, consisting of 4-8 ray florets and a similar number of tubular disk florets. The base of each flowerhead consists of overlapping scale-like bracts that are yellowish-green. The branches of larger panicles often have small leafy bracts. The blooming period can occur from mid-summer into the fall and lasts about 1-2 months. Each fertile floret is replaced by a small bullet-shaped achene with a short tuft of hairs at its apex. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. Vegetative colonies of plants are often formed by the spreading rhizomes.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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