IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

A native biennial plant that is 4-6' when mature, branching frequently in the upper half to produce long flowering stems. The angular stems are covered with white hairs that are soft and long. These hairs are more or less straight, and spread away from the stem. The light green leaves are about 5" long and 1½" across when full-sized. They usually alternate along the stems, but sometimes occur in whorls where a new stem emerges from an older stem. The leaves have very short or no petioles, are lanceolate or ovate in shape, and have margins that are smooth or slightly dentate, depending on the local ecotype. The leaves often turn red during late summer or fall. The numerous small flowers are usually light pink, but are sometimes white or reddish pink, depending on their maturity. They have a slight fragrance. There are 4 petals loosely arranged toward the top of each flower, while 8 yellow stamens hang loosely downward. These flowers occur on long spikes or panicles that project upward and outward in different directions. The blooming period is during late summer for about 1½ months. The root system is fibrous, while reproduction is by seed. The entire plant is flimsily constructed, and sways with each passing breeze, thereby distributing the seeds.

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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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