IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial wildflower consists of a low rosette of basal leaves up to 6" across; a mature plant will produce one or more flowering stalks up to 12" tall. The blades of the basal leaves are up to 3" long and 2½" across; they have stout hairy petioles up to 1½" long. The basal leaves are more or less oval in shape, crenate along their margins, palmately veined, and hairy on both their upper and lower surfaces; the upper surface of each leaf is medium green, while the lower surface is pale green or pale purplish green. Each flowering stalk is stout, erect, and very hairy; it has small alternate leaves up to 1¼" long and ½" across, which become gradually smaller as they ascend toward the inflorescence. The alternate leaves are similar to the basal leaves, except they are ovate in shape and smaller in size. Each alternate leaf is sessile or it clasps the stalk. The inflorescence consists of a stout spike of small flowers about 2-6" long. These flowers are densely clustered along the spike. Underneath each flower, there is a small leafy bract that is lanceolate. Each flower has a 2-lipped corolla that is cream-colored or pale yellow and a calyx consisting of 4 green sepals that are elliptic and hairy. The corolla is about 1/5" long and slightly longer than the calyx; the upper lip of the corolla is unlobed, while the irregular lower lip is unlobed or divided into 2-3 lobes. Each flower has a pair of exerted stamens and a slender white style. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. The flowers bloom gradually from the bottom of the spike to its apex. Each flower is replaced by a small 2-celled seed capsule that contains several seeds. The root system consists of a cluster of coarse fibrous roots; an older plant may form a rootstock that resembles a caudex or taproot. This wildflower occasionally forms colonies at favorable sites.

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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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