IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This herbaceous perennial plant is about 1¼-3' tall and usually unbranched, except toward the apex where the flowers occur. The central stem is light green, terete, and glabrous to slightly hairy. The alternate leaves are up to 4" long and 1¾" across, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stems. They are lanceolate to ovate, serrated along their margins, and pinnately veined. The upper leaf surface is medium green and glabrous to sparsely short-pubescent, while the lower surface is light green and mostly glabrous, except for some hairs along the major veins. The bases of lower leaves taper into short winged petioles, while the bases of upper leaves are sessile. The tips of leaves are mostly acute (less often bluntly acute). The central stem terminates in a panicle of flowerheads up to 1' tall and 1' across. The major branches of this panicle are arching, widely spreading, and racemose (raceme-like in appearance). The flowerheads are borne on short lateral branchlets along the major branches, facing upward; they are nearly sessile. Both the branches and branchlets are light to medium green and pubescent. The panicle is rather open in structure and it often causes the entire plant to lean over because of the weight of the flowerheads. Each flowerhead is about 3 mm. (1/8") across, consisting of several ray florets (3-8) that surround a similar number of disk florets. Both the petaloid rays and corollas of the florets are yellow; the petaloid rays are linear-oblong, while the corollas are short-tubular and minutely lobed above. Surrounding the base of each flowerhead, there are several overlapping series of phyllaries (scaly floral bracts); these phyllaries are light green to yellowish green, appressed together, and linear-lanceolate in shape. In addition to the flowerheads, small leafy bracts (up to 1" long) occur along the branches and branchlets of the panicle. On robust plants, smaller secondary panicles or racemes of flowerheads often develop from the axils of upper leaves. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall and lasts about 3-4 weeks. Afterwards, fertile florets are replaced by small achenes with tufts of hair at their apices. These achenes are oblongoid in shape and 2-3 mm. long; they are dispersed by the wind. The root system consists of a branching caudex with secondary fibrous roots; rhizomes are also produced, enabling this plant to form clonal colonies. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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