IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This herbaceous perennial plant is 3-9' tall, consisting of a central stem that is more or less erect, and occasional lateral stems in the upper half of the plant that are ascending. These stems are light green, terete, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, and often glaucous. The alternate leaves can be quite large, up to 18" long and 18" across, becoming smaller as they ascend the stems. They have 3-5 palmate lobes; both the sinuses and tips of the lobes are acutely angled. The leaf margins are coarsely dentate. The upper leaf surfaces are medium to dark green and glabrous, while the lower leaf surfaces are pale green and glabrous to sparsely pubescent. The petioles are usually a little shorter than the leaves (up to 8" long); they are light green and glabrous to sparsely pubescent. At the base of each petiole, there is a pair of linear stipules about ¼" in length. The central and upper stems terminate in one or more panicles of flowers up to 2' long and 2' across. The branches and pedicels of these panicles are light green and glabrous to sparsely pubescent. There are small leafy bracts (less than 3" long) that are located where the branches of the panicle diverge. The flowers tend to be organized into clusters near the tips of the terminal branches; their pedicels are up to 1" long. Because Glade Mallow is dioecious, each flowering plant has either all male (staminate) or all female (pistillate) flowers, but not both. Each male flower is about ½-¾" across, consisting of a short-tubular calyx with 5 broad teeth, 5 white petals, and several stamens; the latter are joined together into a narrow white column. At the apex of this column, the stamens become separated into short white filaments and small plumes of tan to pink anthers. The calyx is light green and glabrous, while the petals are widely spreading and obovate to oblanceolate in shape. Each female flower is about ½-¾" across, consisting of a short-tubular calyx with 5 broad teeth, 5 white petals, and a compound pistil with several white styles. The calyx is light green and glabrous, while the petals are widely spreading and obovate in shape. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer, lasting about 1 month. There is a pleasant floral fragrance. Afterwards, the female flowers are replaced by dry fruits (schizocarps); there are 8-10 seeds per fruit that are probably distributed to some extent by water. The root system consists of a hollow taproot that branches occasionally, and it also produces rhizomes. Colonies of plants can develop from the rhizomes. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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