IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This shrubby native perennial is up to 3' tall. It tillers at the base, sending up multiple stems. These stems are light green and covered with fine white hairs, becoming woody with age in the absence of fire or browsing from animals. The alternate or opposite leaves are up to 3" long and 2" across. They are sessile or have small petioles, and are broadly lanceolate or ovate, with conspicuous veins. The major veins are palmate, from which side veins radiate outward pinnately. The undersides of the leaves are light green and covered with fine white hairs. The leaf margins are smooth or finely serrate, and slightly ciliate. From the axils of the upper leaves emerge long-stalked clusters of numerous white flowers. These clusters of flowers are elongated and rounded. Each flower consists of a long slender tube terminating in 5 folded calyxes. When these open, 5 hatchet-shaped petals with slender bases spread outward, while a large white pistil and 5 stamens with dark gray anthers emerge from the center of the flower. These flowers have a pleasant fragrance. The blooming period lasts about a month during early summer. Later, fruits form that can be mechanically ejected several feet from the mother plant. Each one contains 3 glossy brown, eliptical seeds. The root system consists of a stout, deeply anchored reddish taproot.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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