IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial plant is usually about 6" tall, but sometimes reaches 1' or a little more. There is a central stem that branches occasionally, creating a bushy effect on mature plants. It is often covered with scattered white hairs. The alternate trifoliate leaves have fairly long petioles, and are about ¾" across when fully open. Depending on environmental conditions, they are light green, green, or reddish green, and fold up at night. Occasionally, they fold up in response to intense sunlight during midday. Floppy umbels of yellow flowers emerge from the leaf axils on long, slightly hairy stalks. Each bell-shaped flower is about ½" across when fully open, and has 5 petals that flare outward. There are fine lines toward the throat of the flower, which is subtended by 5 green triangular sepals. Sometimes, the throat of the flower is slightly red. Like the leaves, the flowers close-up at night. There is little or no floral scent. The blooming period peaks during late spring or early summer, but continues intermittently until the fall. Plants often become dormant during the hot dry spells of mid- to late summer. The root system consists of a slender branching taproot with numerous secondary roots. This plant spreads by means of mechanical ejection of the seeds from the slightly hairy elongated seed capsules; each capsule splits into 5 sections.

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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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