IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This shrub produces little-branched woody stems about 3-5' tall that are erect, ascending, to slightly arching. The base of older stems is reddish brown or reddish black with white lenticels; otherwise, stems are medium gray and winged with light brown woody ridges. Young non-woody shoots are light green, terete, and hairy. Alternate leaves develop along the shoots. The blades of these leaves are about 1½-3½" long and similarly across; they are orbicular in outline, but palmately lobed (3 or 5 lobes). The margins of the blades are coarsely and irregularly toothed and sometimes shallowly cleft. The upper blade surface is medium to dark green, glabrous, and variably wrinkled from sunken veins; the lower blade surface is light green and hairy, particularly along the veins. Both the lower and upper surfaces of the blades have minute glandular dots that are gold-colored. The petioles are up to 3" long, light green, and hairy. Occasionally, short lateral shoots from the stems terminate in drooping racemes of flowers about 1-3" long. Each raceme has 5-15 flowers that are arranged alternately along the central stalk; at the base of each flower, there is a linear-oblong bract about 1/3" long (8 mm.) that is somewhat recurved and ciliate. The central stalk of each raceme is light green and pubescent. Individual flowers are about 1/3" long (8 mm.) or slightly longer, consisting of a green inferior ovary, a greenish white to pale yellow tubular calyx with 5 spreading lobes that are oblong in shape, 5 erect whitish petals that are largely hidden by the lobes of the sepals, 5 non-exerted stamens, and 2 united styles that become divergent at their tips. The jointed pedicels are 1/8" long or less. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 3 weeks. Fertile flowers are replaced by fleshy berries. Individual berries are 1/3" (8 mm.) across or a little wider, ovoid to globoid in shape, and shiny. Immature berries are green, while mature berries are black. Each berry contains numerous minute seeds that are ovoid and somewhat flattened.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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