IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native annual plant is up to 1' long and sparingly branched. Its slender stems are glabrous and sprawling to erect. The alternate leaves are up to 3" long and 2" across; they are pinnately compound with 3-7 narrow leaflets. Each leaflet is linear-oblong, smooth along the margins, and hairless. Occasionally, a leaflet may be cleft into 2-3 narrow lobes. Both the stems and leaves are light green and rather mossy in appearance. Individual flowers develop from the axils of the upper leaves. Each flower is about ¼" across, consisting of 3 green sepals, 3 white petals, 6 stamens (usually), and a single style. The sepals are lanceolate-ovate and much larger than the petals. The petals are narrowly oblong and inconspicuous. The slender pedicel of each flower is about 1" long. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about a month. During the heat of summer, the foliage turns yellow and quickly withers away. Each flower develops 1-3 carpels that are globoid and bumpy across the upper surface. The carpels are initially pale green or pale yellow, but they later turn brown and release the seeds. The root system consists of a slender branching taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself, and it often form colonies at favorable sites.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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