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During late summer when this tall plant is in full bloom, its lanky stems and flowering spikes have a tendency to sway with each passing breeze. Biennial Gaura (Gaura biennis) has not received much attention because of its untidy appearance and slightly weedy nature. However, it provides attractive flowers during the hot and dreary month of August, when other plants are usually dormant. Biennial Gaura closely resembles Large-flowered Gaura (Gaura longiflora), except this latter species has short appressed hairs along its stems, rather than long and widely spreading hairs. Large-flowered Gaura has a more western distribution than Biennial Gaura, and it is less common in Illinois. Another species with a more western distribution, Small-flowered Gaura (Gaura parviflora), has more densely pubescent leaves, a less branched inflorescence, and smaller flowers than Biennial Gaura. Small-flowered Gaura is uncommon in Illinois, where it is adventive.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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