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Description

This plant is a winter annual or biennial up to 2½' tall that branches occasionally. A few basal leaves are produced during the fall, while alternate cauline leaves develop along the stems during the following spring. The stems are green, glabrous, and terete. The leaves are up to 4" long and ¾" across; they are pinnately compound with 3-15 leaflets. The leaflets are linear, oblanceolate, obovate, or orbicular in shape, becoming more narrow on the upper leaves; their margins are usually undulate, shallowly lobed, or dentate with a few blunt teeth. On each leaf, the terminal leaflet is as wide or wider than the remaining leaflets. Both the lower and upper sides of the leaves are green and glabrous. The upper stems terminate in racemes of small white flowers. Each flower is about 3 mm. (1/8") long, consisting of 4 white petals, 4 light green sepals, a stout pistil, and several stamens. The mature pedicels (5-9 mm. in length) ultimately become longer than the flowers. Both the pedicels and the central stalk (rachis) of the raceme are green and glabrous. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 1-2 months. Each flower is replaced by a narrowly cylindrical seedpod (or silique) that is up to 1¼" long. The siliques are relatively straight and they spread outward slightly from the central stalk of each raceme. The tips of young siliques often surround the flowers and partially obscure them. Each silique contains a row of tiny seeds; these seeds are about 1 mm. in length, oblongoid-ovoid in shape, and brown. The root system consists of a tuft of shallow fibrous roots. This plant spreads by reseeding itself. Cultivation

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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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