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This adventive perennial plant is 1–2½' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are erect or spreading, and more or less hairy. The opposite leaves are up to 2" long and 1" across. They are cordate-ovate, smooth along the margins, slightly pubescent, and usually sessile (the lower leaves may have short petioles). Single flowers may develop from the leaf axils of the upper stems, while the remaining flowers occur in small clusters at the end of stems.  Each flower is about ½" across when it is fully open, consisting of 5 white petals that are cleft, 5 green sepals that are ovate and pubescent, 5 slender white styles, and 10 stamens. There is some variability across populations of plants regarding how deeply cleft the petals are. These petals are slightly longer to much longer than the sepals. The pedicel of each flower is conspicuously pubescent and up to 1" long. The blooming period occurs from late spring to late summer and lasts about 2-3 months. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that is ovoid and single-celled; it contains several seeds. Each seed is orbicular-reniform and minutely bumpy across the surface. The root system is fibrous and produces rhizomes, which enables this plant to form vegetative colonies.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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