IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Prior to developing an inflorescence, this native perennial plant consists of one or more rosettes of basal leaves that are clustered together. They are medium green, sometimes with reddish tints. They are variable in shape, but tend to be ovate, obovate, or broadly lanceolate, and are up to 6" long and 2½" wide. Their margins are usually smooth. One or more flowering stalks emerge from the clustered rosettes during the spring, which are about 3' tall. They are hairless and light green, while the opposite leaves on these stalks are more lanceolate in shape than the basal leaves. Their edges often have tiny teeth, and the leaf surface is often shiny.  The white flowers occur in a panicle at the top of each flowering stem, and bloom during late spring or early summer for about a month. They are tubular in shape and about 1" long, with the corolla divided into a lower lip with 3 lobes and and an upper lip with 2 lobes. Somtimes there are fine lines of violet within the corolla, which function as nectar guides to visiting insects. There is no floral scent. The entire plant is hairless, except on the outer surface of the flowers. The flowering stalk eventually turns dark brown, developing numerous oval seed capsules, each containing numerous seeds. These seeds are gray, finely pitted, and irregularly angled. This inflorescence eventually falls over are the seeds have formed, helping to distribute them, but the basal leaves remain. The small seeds can also be carried aloft by the wind for short distances. The root system has short rhizomes, which often produce new plantlets around the base.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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