IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This is a native shrub about 4-16' tall that branches occasionally. The lower stems are woody; the gray bark is relatively smooth with scattered small lenticels. The upper stems are dull light green and pubescent. The alternate leaves are about ½–1½' long and odd-pinnate with 11-35 leaflets; they have relatively short petioles up to 2" long. Both the petioles and central stalks of the leaves are light gray-green and pubescent. Individual leaflets are 1-2" long and ½–1" across; they are dull gray-green, oblong to broadly oblong, smooth along their margins, and sparsely canescent-pubescent. From the leaflet undersides, scattered translucent glands are visible that resemble small dots. Each leaflet has a tiny pointed tip. The petiolules of the leaflets are slender and short. Occasionally, clusters of 1-6 spike-like racemes of flowers develop from the upper branches. Individual racemes are erect to ascending, 3-8" long, and cylindrical in shape from the dense arrangement of flowers. Each flower is ¼" long (or a little more) and tubular in shape from a single violet-purple petal (the standard) that wraps around the reproductive organs; there is a single style and about 10 stamens that are strongly exerted. The anthers of the stamens are bright orange-yellow. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 2-3 weeks. The flowers are replaced by small seedpods about ¼" long (or a little more) that each contain 1-2 seeds. The seedpods are obovoid and somewhat flattened, terminating in short beaks; their outer surfaces are glandular-punctate. The root system is woody and branching. Sometimes small colonies of plants develop at favorable sites.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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