IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial wildflower is ½–2½' tall and largely unbranched, except near the apex where some lateral stems with flowers are usually produced. Short plants are erect, while tall plants sometimes sprawl across the ground. The central stem is light green to purplish green, sharply 4-angled, narrowly winged, and sparsely to moderately covered with glandular hairs. Pairs of opposite leaves occur along the central stem; they are up to 3" long and 1¼" across, medium green, sharply toothed and ciliate along their margins, hairless to slightly hairy across their upper and lower surfaces, and sessile. The central stem and upper lateral stems (if present) terminate in short cymes of showy flowers. The branches of each cyme are usually glandular-hairy. Each flower is 1–1½" across, consisting of 4 widely spreading petals that are pink to deep rose-pink, a tubular calyx with 4 widely spreading triangular teeth, 8 stamens with bright yellow to orange-yellow anthers, and a 4-celled ovary with a single long style. The tubular calyx is shaped like a vase with a constricted neck; it is covered with long bristly hairs. The long slender anthers are curved like a sickle; the pollen of each anther is released through a small pore at one end. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 1-2 months. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that remains hidden within the persistent calyx; the calyx becomes red to purplish red after the petals fall off the flower. Each seed capsule contains numerous tiny seeds that are less than 1 mm. in length. The root system is fibrous; some fibrous roots have tuberous swellings. This wildflower reproduces by reseeding itself.

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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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