IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial plant is up to 4' tall and unbranched. The central stem is fairly stout, with numerous small longitudinal ridges. It is usually covered with scattered white hairs. The leaves near the base of the plant are up to 10" long and ½" wide, but become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. They are linear, and quite numerous as they alternate around the stem. Their margins are smooth, and each leaf has a prominent central vein. The underside of the leaves and the central stem are sometimes whitish green in appearance. The central stem terminates in an inflorescence that consists of a long spike of sessile flowerheads. The flowerheads individually have 5-10 pink to purplish pink flowers. Each flowerhead is about ¼–½" across and subtended by green or reddish bracts whose tips recurve sharply outward. Each small flower has 5 lobes that spread outward from the corolla tube, from which emerges 2 long curly styles. There is no floral scent. The blooming period occurs during late summer and lasts about a month. Afterwards, achenes form with light brown tufts of hair, which are distributed by the wind. The root system consists of corms, which occasionally form offsets near the mother plant. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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