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Description

This is a native perennial plant with a central stem that is 2-6' tall. Because of the wide distribution and the existence of several varieties, there is significant variability in the characteristics of local ecotypes. The alternate leaves are about 4-6" long and 1" wide, becoming slightly smaller towards the apex of the plant. They are lanceolate to broadly linear in shape, and usually have small teeth along the margins, otherwise the margins are smooth. The stems have lines of white hairs, while the undersides of the leaves are pubescent.  Several flowering stems emerge from the top of the plant in the form of a panicle bearing masses of tiny yellow flowers in compact heads. Each flowerhead is less than ¼" across. The flowerhead occur along the upper part of each flowering stem, and sometimes have a slight fragrance. The blooming period is from late summer to fall; individual plants typically remain in bloom about 3 weeks. The achenes are longitudinally ribbed, slightly hairy, and have small tufts of hair, which help to provide dispersion by wind. The root system is fibrous, producing creeping rhizomes that cause the plants to cluster, sometimes forming dense colonies. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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