IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is 2-6' tall and unbranched or sparingly branched in the upper half. The central stem is light green, slightly pubescent, and stiffly erect. The alternate leaves are up to 8" long and ¾" across. They are linear to narrowly lanceolate, sessile or short-petioled, mostly hairless, and sparingly toothed along the margins. Each leaf has a prominent central vein. The central stem terminates in one or more corymbs of flowerheads that are rather flat-topped. Each flowerhead spans 1/3–1" across, consisting of 50-100 magenta disk florets, no ray florets, and numerous light green floral bracts at its base. These floral bracts are narrowly linear or filiform (thread-like) and more or less curved; the tips of some bracts may be colored pale purple. Each tiny disk floret has a tubular corolla with 5 slender lobes and a divided style. The branches of each corymb are light green and finely pubescent. The blooming period occurs during the late summer to early fall and lasts about a month. There is no noticeable floral scent. During the fall, each disk floret in a flowerhead is replaced by a small achene that is bullet-shaped and often finely pubescent. At the apex of each achene, there is a small tuft of pale purple hairs or bristles. These achenes are distributed by the wind. The root system often produces vegetative clumps of plants.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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