IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant consists of a rosette of leaves about 6" across, from which flowering stalks develop directly from the rootstock. Each blade of a basal leaf is up to 3½" long and 2½" across, while its petiole is about as long as the blade. The leaf blades are deltoid-cordate to oval-cordate, glabrous or nearly so, palmately veined, and crenate along their margins. The petioles are rather stout, pale green, hairless or nearly so, and widely spreading to ascending. The ascending flowering stalks are about as tall as the leaves; the stalks are pale green to pale reddish green and hairless. Each stalk nods downward at its apex and terminates in a single flower. Each flower is about ½–¾" across, consisting of 5 pale blue-violet petals and 5 pale green sepals. The lower lateral petals are bearded with white hairs near the throat of the flower; the lowest petal and upper lateral petals are beardless. The throat of the flower is white, and there are dark blue-violet veins on the lowest petal and lower lateral petals that function as nectar guides to flower-visiting insects. Sometimes the white throat of the flower is surrounded by a band of blue-violet that is slightly darker than the outer regions of the petals. At the back of each flower, there is a short blunt nectar spur. The blooming period occurs during mid- to late spring and lasts about 1½ months. Somewhat later, cleistogamous flowers are produced that are self-fertile; they lack showy petals. Each fertilized flower is replaced by a tripartite seed capsule. The small seeds in each capsule are dull light brown with oily elaisomes; they are ejected mechanically from the capsule. The root system consists of a short crown with thick rhizomes and fibrous roots. Reproduction occurs through the seeds and rhizomes.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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