Comprehensive Description

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Description

This branching native shrub is 2-4' tall. The trunk and lower branches are woody and brown; they are covered with strips of loose shaggy bark. The middle to upper branches are reddish purple to brown and variably hairy. The blades of the opposite leaves are up to 2" long and 1¼" across; they are oval-ovate and smooth along their margins. The upper surface of each leaf blade is medium green and hairless to slightly pubescent, while the lower surface is whitish green and slightly pubescent to very pubescent. Each leaf has a short petiole up to ¼" long. Leaf venation is pinnate. At the axils of some leaves, there develops dense clusters of greenish yellow flowers that are sessile, or nearly so. Each flower is about ¼" long, consisting of a short tubular corolla with 5 lobes, a short green calyx with 5 teeth, and an inferior ovary that is pale green and globoid-ovoid in shape. Inside the corolla, there are 5 stamens surrounding a hairy style. The blooming period occurs during the late spring or summer. Each flower is replaced by a berry containing 2 seeds. The mature berries are about ¼" long, reddish purple, and ovoid-globoid in shape; the texture of their flesh is somewhat dry. The seeds are oblongoid and flattened. The root system consists of a woody branching taproot. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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