IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial wildflower is about 1½–3' tall and either unbranched or sparingly so. The central stem usually leans over to one side; it is glabrous and light green while young, but becomes glaucous and blue-grey or burgundy-grey with age. Along the central stem and any side stems there are alternate leaves up to 5" long and 1" across; these leaves become gradually smaller as they ascend upward. They are medium to dark green, lanceolate-oblong, elliptic, or narrowly ovate in shape, more or less serrated along their margins, mostly hairless, and sessile. The upper surface of each leaf has a prominent central vein and faint side veins. At the axils of the middle to upper leaves, there develops small clusters of flowerheads. Each flowerhead is about 1/8" across or a little larger; it has 4-5 yellow ray florets and a similar number of golden yellow disk florets. At the base of the flowerhead, there are small green bracts (phyllaries) with obtuse tips. Sometimes, the central stem will terminate in a short narrow inflorescence. This inflorescence consists of flowerheads that are closely bunched together along with some small leafy bracts. The blooming period occurs from late summer into the fall and lasts about 3-4 weeks. Each fertile floret is replaced by a small bullet-shaped achene that is finely pubescent; at its apex, there is a small tuft of hairs. The achenes are distributed by the wind. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. Occasionally, small loose colonies of plants will develop from the rhizomes.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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