IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native annual plant is ½–3' tall, branching sparingly. The central stem is glabrous and occasionally angular. The opposite leaves are up to 5" long and 1" across, although usually smaller in size. They are linear-oblong to lanceolate-ovate, serrated along the margins, and hairless. These leaves are never lobed nor pinnately compound. At the base, the pairs of opposite leaves clasp the stem and nearly surround it (i.e., they're nearly connate), or they are sessile. The upper stems terminate in flowerheads about ½–1½" across. These flowerheads have a tendency to nod downward with age and the central head of disk florets becomes larger and more rounded. The corolla of each disk floret is yellow and narrowly tubular with 5 lobes. There are about 8 ray florets surrounding the disk florets, but sometimes they lack petaloid rays. When they are present, the petaloid rays are bright yellow and oblong-elliptic in shape; they are variable in length, depending on the local ecotype. At the base of each flowerhead, there are both inner and outer bracts (phyllaries). The inner bracts are pale yellow, membranous along their margins, and rather broad, tapering to blunt tips. The outer bracts are green and oblong-linear. These latter bracts are about as long or longer than the petaloid rays, but they have a tendency to curl backward with age. There are about 6-10 outer bracts per flowerhead. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall and lasts about 1-2 months for a colony of plants. Each achene is oblongoid, although broader and somewhat truncated at its apex, where there are usually 4 barbed awns. The root system is shallow and branches frequently. This plant often forms colonies and spreads by reseeding itself; sometimes the lower portion of a stem will form rootlets at the leaf nodes when it lies against moist soil. Nodding Bur-Marigold is rather variable across its range. The leaves have a tendency to turn purple during the cool weather of autumn. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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