IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial plant is about 1-3' tall and unbranched, except for a few flowering stems near the apex. The central stem may have fine white hairs, otherwise it is glabrous. The opposite leaves are up to 5" long and 2" across, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. They are yellowish green to medium-dark green, ovate to lanceolate-oblong, devoid of hairs, and have widely spaced teeth along their margins. The leaves are sessile or they clasp the stem; sometimes they are slightly cordate at the base. An elongated panicle of flowers occurs at the apex of the central stem, and smaller panicles of flowers may occur on upper side stems. The stems of each inflorescence (peduncles and pedicels) are usually covered with fine white hairs. Each tubular flower is about 1" long, with 2 upper lobes and 3 lower lobes; the lower lobes do not project outward any further than the upper lobes. On the outer surface, the corolla is light violet or purple and covered with fine hairs, while the inner surface is white. The lower inner surface of the corolla is smooth and lacks ridges. The anthers and style are inserted within the corolla. The calyx of this penstemon is divided into rather long linear-lanceolate segments that are about 1/3" long. The blooming period occurs during late spring or early summer and lasts about a month. There is no floral scent. The flowers are replaced by small capsules containing numerous seeds. These small seeds can be carried several feet by gusts of wind. The root system consists of a taproot. The flowering stalk dies down after the blooming period, although it is replaced by low basal leaves that persist until the spring of the following year.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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