IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is 1–1½' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are usually glabrous and have a tendency to sprawl across the ground. They are often dull reddish green and somewhat angular. The alternate compound leaves are odd pinnate, consisting of about 5-15 leaflets, and they are up to 1' long. Sometimes, there are a few white hairs at the base of the petioles of the compound leaves. Each leaflet is oval to narrowly ovate, hairless, and with a margin that is smooth. It is about 1½" long and ½" across. Flowering stalks develop from the upper axils of the compound leaves that are several inches long. These stalks are glabrous and often reddish green, terminating in a small corymb of floppy or nodding flowers. Each bell-shaped flower is about 2/3" across. It has 5 rounded petals that are light blue, 5 stamens with white anthers, a style that is divided at its tip into 3 parts, and a reddish green calyx with 5 teeth that is united at the base. There are fine lines running along the length of the petals, while the stamens are the same length as, or shorter than, the petals. The blooming period usually occurs during the late spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks. The flowers are replaced by rounded capsules containing 3 cells. Each cell contains several seeds. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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