IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This plant is a winter or spring annual that is 1-6' tall, branching very little except near the apex where the flowerheads occur. The central stem is hairless and dull green; sometimes it is tinted with reddish purple. The alternate leaves are up to 10" long and 2½" across, becoming smaller and more sparsely distributed as they ascend the central stem. Each leaf is odd pinnate (pinnatifid) with deep triangular lobes; its margins are dentate with soft prickles. The upper leaves are more likely to be entire or have shallow lobes. Like the central stem, each leaf has a dull green upper surface that is hairless; its base may be tinted reddish purple. At this base, there is a pair of pointed basal lobes that extend beyond the stem. The upper stems terminate in small clusters of flowerheads that are about ¾" across when they are fully open; these flowerheads bloom during the morning and close by noon. Each flowerhead consists of numerous yellow ray florets and no disk florets. The floral bracts at the base of the flowerhead are dull green, hairless, and overlap each other in a vertical series. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer and lasts about a month in a given locale; a few plants may bloom later in the year. Each flowerhead is shortly replaced by numerous achenes with tufts of fluffy white hairs. Each dark achene is somewhat flattened, ribbed, and oblongoid; one end is somewhat broader than the other. Distribution of the achenes is by the wind. The root system consists of a stout taproot. The foliage contains a milky latex. This plant spreads by reseeding itself. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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