IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This strange-looking wildflower immediately catches one's attention when it is encountered while in bloom or in fruit. The floral spikes are exceptionally white and cottony. The only other species in this genus that can be found in Illinois is Froelichia gracilis (Slender Cottonweed), which is probably adventive from the region of the Southern Plains. It is similar in appearance to Large Cottonweed, but less showy. Slender Cottonweed differs from Large Cottonweed by its shorter height (less than 2' tall), more slender leaves (less than ½" across), and shorter floral spikes (1½" or less). It also tends to branch more at the base, producing sprawling stems. Species in this genus are also referred to by the somewhat ominous name, 'Snakecotton.' Thus, Froelichia floridana is sometimes referred to as 'Plains Snakecotton.'

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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