IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is 1-2' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are sharply 4-angled and usually glabrous, although scattered hairs may occur along the ridges on relatively new growth. The opposite leaves are up to 3½" long and 2" across. They are sessile against the stem, or have very short petioles. The leaves are broadly lanceolate or ovate, with serrate margins that are often ciliate. The upper surface of each leaf is often finely pubescent, while a few hairs may occur along the major veins on the lower surface. The upper surface is green or yellowish green, sometimes with scattered purple spots or a purplish tint along the margin. The upper stems terminate in dome-shaped flowerheads (a single flowerhead per stem). These flowerheads are about 1½–3" across. A small wreath of flowers first appears toward the center of the flowerhead, and spreads gradually towards the outer edge of the flowerhead. Each narrow flower is about 1" long, and has a corolla that is deeply divided into prominent upper and lower lips. The upper lip is nearly tubular and contains the exerted stamens, while the lower lip is somewhat wider and has a narrow lobe at its tip that curls downward. The corolla is white or pink, with purple dots on the lower lip, and white hairs on the upper lip. The calyx of each flower is tubular and hairy, with 5 pointed lobes at its tip. Immediately beneath each flowerhead are 5 leafy bracts that are triangular-shaped. These bracts often have ciliate margins, and they are often colored faded pink or purple. The blooming period occurs during the late spring or early summer and lasts about a month. There is no floral scent, although the foliage exudes an oregano scent. The nutlets are dispersed to some extent by the wind. The root system produces abundant rhizomes, enabling vegetative reproduction.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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