IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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Description

This perennial plant is 3-5' tall and unbranched, except for flowerhead-bearing stalks near the apex of the plant. The central stem is stout, terete, and either purple-spotted or purple; it is often covered with short fine hairs. At intervals along the central stem, there are whorls of 4-5 leaves that are yellowish green or green. These leaves are up to 7" long and 2½" across; they are lanceolate to broadly elliptic and serrated along their margins. The upper leaf surfaces have conspicuous venation. The petioles of the leaves are short (less than ¼" in length). The central stem terminates in a rather flat-headed panicle of flowerheads spanning 3-6" across. Small clusters of flowerheads may occur below on separate stalks. Each narrow flowerhead is about 1/3" long, consisting of 8-20 pink to purplish pink disk florets and no ray florets. Each tiny disk floret has a narrowly tubular corolla with 5 spreading lobes along its upper rim; exerted from the corolla, there is a strongly exerted style that is divided into filiform parts. The narrow bracts (phyllaries) at the base of each flowerhead are pink or purplish pink, like the disk florets. The flowering stalks are purple-spotted to purple and they are often covered with short fine hairs. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer, lasting about 3-4 weeks. The flowerheads are often fragrant. The florets are replaced by achenes with small tufts of bristly hair; they are dispersed by the wind. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. This plant often forms small clonal colonies. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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