IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This perennial wildflower is 1½–3' tall, producing one or more unbranched stems at the base that are erect to ascending. The stems are light green to reddish green and glabrous to densely pubescent. Along each stem, there are numerous alternate leaves that are ascending to widely spreading. Individual leaves are 2-6" long and 1/8-1/2" across; they are linear to linear-lanceolate and smooth along their margins. Their upper surfaces are medium green and glabrous. The leaves often curve upward along their central veins. The petioles of the leaves are about ¼" long and light green. Globoid umbels of greenish white flowers about 1½-2" across develop from the axils of the middle to upper leaves (one umbel per leaf). Each umbel has 30-100 flowers on pedicels about ½-¾" long. The slender pedicels are light green and pubescent. Individual flowers are about 1/8" across and 1/4" long. Each flower has 5 sepals, a corolla with 5 narrow lobes, 5 upright hoods without horns, and a short central column containing the reproductive organs. The lobes of the corolla hang downward from the face of the flower (pointing toward the center of the umbel). The lobes are mostly greenish white, although they become purplish toward their tips. The peduncles of the umbels are about 1-1½" long, light green, and pubescent. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer and lasts about 2 months. Fertile flowers develop into follicles (seedpods that split open along one side) about 4-5" long and up to ½" across that are narrowly lanceoloid in shape. The surface of each follicle is canescent and smooth. Each follicle contain numerous seeds with tufts of white hair that are released to the wind at maturity. The root system consists of a taproot. This wildflower 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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