IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

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.

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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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