IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This herbaceous perennial plant is 1-2' tall, branching sparingly. The stems are green, reddish green, or reddish brown, and they are glabrous to slightly hairy. When they are present, these hairs are curved or appressed against their stems. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 4" across (excluding the petioles); they are pinnately divided into 3-5 leaflets or deep lobes, and their margins are coarsely toothed or shallowly cleft. The lobes of these leaves are relatively narrow and they have acute tips. The earliest leaves in spring have small patches of white that are scattered across their upper surfaces; these white patches don't develop in later leaves. The petioles are up to 2" long, light green to reddish brown, and glabrous to short-pubescent; they are flat or furrowed along their upper sides and convex below. Each upper stem terminates in 1 or 2 cymes of flowers. The flowering stalks (or peduncles) of these cymes are up to 4" long; they are terete and glabrous to short-pubescent. The stalks terminate in dense cymes of flowers about 1-2" across; each cyme contains about 8-20 flowers. Each flower is about 8-12 mm. long, consisting of a corolla with 5 lobes, a hairy green calyx with 5 linear teeth, 5 stamens, and a slender white style that is divided at its tip. The corolla is white, pink, or light lavender; its oblong lobes spread apart only slightly when the flower is fully open. The stamens are strongly exerted from the corolla and quite conspicuous; they have hairy white filaments and brownish anthers. The pedicels of the flowers are up to 12 mm. (½") in length; they are terete and glabrous to short-pubescent. The blooming period occurs during late spring to early summer, lasting about 3-4 weeks; some plants may bloom a little earlier or later than this. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that splits open to release its seeds. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots and rhizomes. Occasionally, this plant forms colonies. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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