IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native annual plant is 1-3' tall, branching occasionally in the upper half. The stems are glabrous or they have a few scattered white hairs; they are often purple in bright sunlight, otherwise light green or reddish green. The compound leaves are usually odd-pinnate, consisting of 3 or 5 leaflets. Often, there are simple leaves near the flowerheads. These leaves occur oppositely along the stems, although some of the upper leaves may be alternate. The compound leaves have long petioles. The leaflets are up to 3" long and 1" across. They are lanceolate, coarsely serrated, and usually hairless, although their lower surface may be slightly pubescent. The tips of the leaflets are rather long and pointed. Some of the upper stems terminate in individual flowerheads about ¾–1" across on long stalks; some stalks may have 1-2 additional flowerheads that are smaller in size. The flowerheads consist of numerous disk florets that have golden yellow corollas; petaloid rays are absent. The flowerhead bases are surrounded by 6-10 leaf-like outer bracts (phyllaries); they are usually 8 in number. These narrow bracts are green and slightly ciliate. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall, lasting about 1-2 months. There is no noticeable floral scent. The dark achenes are flattened, each one terminating in a pair of long and slender awns. These awns have tiny barbs that point downward. Because of their light weight, the achenes can be blown about by wind. The root system consists of a shallow taproot that branches frequently. During the autumn, the leaves often turn purple. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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