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IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This perennial wildflower is 6-20" tall and either unbranched or branched. The central stem is medium green, terete, and hairy. The alternate leaves are 1-3" long and ¼-¾" across; they are oblong-elliptic or oblong-oblanceolate in shape, smooth along their margins, and sessile. The upper leaf surface is medium green and either hairless or sparsely covered with appressed hairs, while the lower surface is medium green and sparsely to moderately covered with hairs. Each leaf has a prominent central vein. The central stem (and any lateral stems) terminates in a raceme of flowers 2-10" long. The apex of this raceme curves laterally and slightly downward like a scorpion's tail. The central stalk of the raceme is medium green, terete, and covered with appressed hairs. The flowers occur on slender pedicels about ¼" long. Each flower is about 1/4-1/3" (6-8 mm.) across, consisting of a light blue corolla with 5 petal-like lobes, a short tubular calyx with 5 teeth, 5 stamens that are inserted within the corolla, and a pistil with a single style. The opening of the corolla is narrow and it is surrounded by a ring of yellow. The calyx is medium green and covered with appressed hairs; its teeth are shorter than the calyx tube and they are ovate in shape. The blooming period can occur from late spring to early fall. On each raceme, only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time. Each flower is replaced by 4 small nutlets that are shorter than the persistent style. The root system is shallow and fibrous. The base of a plant's stem is often creeping or stolon-like, where it can take root and produce clonal offsets. This often results in a colony of plants.

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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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