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This is one of the woodland wildflowers that blooms during the summer in shaded areas. The flowers of such species are usually small, white, and not very showy. Enchanter's Nightshade is a rather odd member of the Evening Primrose family, as its flowers have only 2 petals, 2 sepals, and 2 stamens. This is a distinctive characteristic of the Circaea genus in this family. The only other member of this genus that occurs in Illinois, Circaea alpina (Small Enchanter's Nightshade), is an uncommon species that is restricted to the cool moist woodlands of northern Illinois. It has leaves that are more cordate and indented at the base, and its flowers are clustered toward the apex of the flowering stalk (rather than being evenly distributed along this stalk). While Enchanter's Nightshade is ¾-2' tall and it has 2-celled ovaries, Small Enchanter's Nightshade is less than 1' tall and it has 1-celled ovaries.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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