Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
DescriptionThis native wildflower is a spring annual about 4-16" tall; it branches occasionally and is more or less erect. The stems are rather thick and succulent, pale green to pale purple, and glaucous; they have widely scattered to dense tufts of long white hairs. The lower leaves are opposite, while the upper leaves are alternate; they are widely spreading. Each leaf is up to 4" long and 1" across; it is simple pinnate or pinnate-pinnatifid in structure and oblong-ovate in outline. There are 7-13 narrow leaflets (or narrow lobes) on each leaf; they can be opposite or alternate. Each leaflet has 3-5 large teeth or cleft lobes. The upper surface of each leaf is medium to dark green and hairy. At the base of each leaf, there is a stout petiole that is flattened on top and somewhat hairy. Individual flowers up to ¼" across are produced from the axils of the upper leaves; their pedicels are short, slender, and hairy. Each flower has a white or pale blue corolla with 5 petal-like lobes and a hairy green calyx with 5 large teeth. There may be fine purple lines within the interior of the corolla and tiny specks of purple on the petal-like lobes. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 1½ months. The flowers open up during the day; only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time. The corollas soon fall off, while the teeth of the calyxes become enlarged, spreading outward from their seed capsules. Each seed capsule is globoid, slightly bifid, and hairy; it contains 4 seeds. The seeds are brown, ovoid, and finely pitted. The root system consists of a taproot.