IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This biennial wildflower forms a low rosette of leaves during its first year, followed by a flowering stem (1-3' tall) with alternate leaves during the following year. The basal leaves are 2½-5" long and ½-1¼" across; they are usually oblanceolate or shallowly pinnatifid in shape and sparsely dentate along their margins. The upper and lower surfaces of the basal leaves are nearly glabrous to moderately pubescent. The central stem is grayish green, terete, and unbranched; it is usually sparsely hairy below and glabrous above. Numerous leaves alternate along the entire length of this stem, becoming slightly smaller as they ascend. These leaves are 2-4" long and ½-1¼" across; they are oblanceolate, elliptic, or lanceolate in shape, smooth or slightly undulate along their margins, and sparsely dentate, tapering gradually to sessile bases. The upper surface of the leaves is medium green and glabrous (or nearly so), while the lower surface is light-medium green and sparsely pubescent. The central stem terminates in a raceme of flowers about 4-16" long. The flowers bloom near the apex of the raceme, while seedpods develop below. Each flower is about ¼" long and a little less across, consisting of 4 white petals, 4 green sepals, 6 stamens, and a pistil with a short style. The petals are only a little longer than the sepals. The sepals are bluntly lanceolate and pubescent. The pedicels of the flowers are slender and slightly pubescent; as the seedpods develop, they become ¼-½" in length and droop downward. The seedpods (siliques) are 1½-4" long, narrowly cylindrical, flattened, and glabrous; they droop downward and become somewhat curved. Each seedpod contains many seeds that are arranged in a single row; the seedpod eventually divides into 2 parts along its length to release them. Each seed is about 2-3 mm. long, 1.5-2.5 mm. across, and somewhat flattened; the body of each seed is surrounded by a broad membrane. The seeds are blown about by the wind. The root system consists of a taproot.

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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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