Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
DescriptionThis native perennial wildflower is 23½' tall and unbranched. The central stem is light green, terete, and pubescent. Pairs of opposite leaves occur at intervals along this stem; each pair of leaves rotates 90º from the orientation of the preceding pair of leaves. The leaves are up to 8" long and 4" across, ovate or ovate-oblong in shape, and smooth to slightly undulate along their margins. All or most leaves have winged bases that surround the stem and merge with the bases of the leaves on the opposite side. The upper surfaces of the leaves are dull green and hairless to slightly pubescent, while their lower surfaces are whitish green and covered with short fine pubescence. Sessile clusters of 1-5 flowers occur in the axils of the leaves. Each flower has a narrow tubular corolla (about ½" long); usually this corolla is reddish brown (less often, it is more green or yellow). The corolla has 5 lobes that are short and well-rounded. The 5 sepals are about the same length as the corolla and linear in shape; they are light green to dark reddish brown. At the base of each flower, there is a 3-celled ovary that is green and hairy, and a pair of linear stipules that resemble the sepals. Within the corolla, there are 5 stamens and a single style with a knobby green stigma. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer and lasts about a month. Each flower is replaced by a dry drupe about 1/3" across that is globoid in shape and becomes orange at maturity. Inside each drupe, there are 3 black nutlets; these nutlets are 3-angled and oblongoid in shape. The root system consists of a taproot. This wildflower spreads by reseeding itself.