IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

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.

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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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