IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is 1-3' tall, branching occasionally. The foliage consists of basal leaves and bolting stems with alternate leaves; most vegetative growth occurs during the spring. The stems are glabrous and either ribbed or furrowed. The leaves are up to 5" long and 2" across, becoming smaller as they ascend the stems. They are more or less ovate, dentate along the margins, and hairless. The basal leaves and lower alternate leaves are often pinnately lobed; these lobes occur in 1-4 pairs near the base of each leaf. The upper stems terminate in panicles of flowers about ½–1½' in length. Each panicle is little-branched and erect, consisting of several narrow racemes of flowers. Shorter panicles of flowers also develop from the axils of the upper leaves. Each flower is about 1/3" across, consisting of 4 petals that are pale violet to nearly white, 4 pale violet sepals, 6 stamens with violet anthers, and a pistil with a stout style. The petals are broader toward their tips than at the base of the flower; they are longer than the sepals. The pedicel of each flower is about 1/3" long; it is often greenish violet or violet. Both the pedicels and flowering stalks (peduncles) are hairless. The tips of the sepals on young flowers are often hairy. The blooming period occurs during the early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. The flowers are often fragrant and many of them are in bloom at the same time. Each flower develops into a silique (an elongated seedpod) that is about 1–1¼" long, hairless, and linear in shape. Each silique contains a single row of oblongoid seeds; it is often violet-colored on the outer surface, except for a short beak at its tip that is green. Relative to the erect stalks of the inflorescence, the siliques are spreading and semi-erect. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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