IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial is up to 2½' tall and unbranched, except for 1 or 2 small side stems near the inflorescence. The central stem is round and glabrous, although scattered long hairs may occur where the leaves wrap around the stems, or a little below. The leaves are dark green or olive green, up to 12" long and 1" across, with parallel venation and smooth margins. They are linear to broadly linear, but wider at the base and narrowing to a pointed tip. They often bend downward toward the middle.  At the apex of the central stem or side stems, is a small cluster of violet flowers. They often droop from their slender hairy pedicels. These are subtended by two leaf-like bracts that are up to 6" long and slightly more than ½" across. Each flower is about 1" across and has 3 rounded violet petals. Toward the center, there are 6 yellow stamens and spidery violet hairs. Each flower opens up during the morning and closes during the early afternoon on sunny days, but may remain open longer on cloudy days or when it remains in the shade. There is no floral scent. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer, and lasts about 1½ months. During this time, the flowers bloom sporadically, rather than all at once. The seed capsules split open into 3 parts, each releasing 3-6 oval to oblong, brown seeds. The seeds normally fall only a short distance from the mother plant. The root system is fleshy and fibrous, producing occasional offshoots nearby.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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