Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Carrot or parsley family (Apiaceae, formerly Umbelliferae). These hardy, perennial or biennial herbs, resembling a cross between a yucca and a thistle, can be a little over a meter to two meters tall. The solitary, erect stem has parallel ribs and branches near the top, ending in globe-shaped flowers. The stem has alternate leaves, which are narrow, lance-shaped and pinnately veined. The broad, stiff basal leaves (20-90cm long, 9cm wide), are usually absent at the time of flowering. Leaves can be slightly toothed along the edges. The plants flower from spring to fall. The white to blue flower heads are 1-1.5 cm with 2mm-long flower petals. Spiny, bluish, leaflike bracts extend beyond the flowering heads giving them an unusual appearance. Fruits are short and oblong, from 2 to 4mm, with scales.
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: The species grows in wet soils, along waters edges in fresh to brackish marshes, low woods, meadows, bogs, swamps and ditches.