IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This adventive species is an annual that forms a branching vine up to 3' in length. The stems have abundant white hairs. The alternate leaves occur on long petioles along the stems. The leaves are up to 2½" long and 3" across, while the petioles are about twice as long as the leaves. The palmate leaves are orbicular to kidney-shaped (reniform), with 5 or more shallow lobes, and a crenate margin. They are deeply indented at the base and often have short hairs across the upper or lower surface. Occasionally, a short flowering stalk (peduncle) about 1" long will occur above the leaf axils, each stalk producing 1-3 flowers. Each flower is about ¾" across and has 5 slightly notched petals. The petals are light violet or white, often with pale violet lines along their length. The green calyx has 5 lobes with ovate tips that are about one-half the length of the petals. In the center of the flower, there is a central reproductive column with single pistil and numerous stamens appressed together. In the absence of a major disturbance, the blooming period usually occurs during the summer and lasts about 2-3 months. However, some plants will bloom during late spring or early fall. Each flower is replaced by a fruit that has a wheel-like shape in which the flat seeds are aligned in a circular row. The outer edge of these seeds is often hairy. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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