IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial wildflower is about 6-12" tall and unbranched, or sparingly so. Both fertile and infertile shoots are produced; the latter develop later in the year and don't produce flowers. The central stem is light green to pale purplish green and slightly to moderately pubescent. The opposite leaves are up to 3" long and 1¼" across; they are ovate, lanceolate, or broadly oblong. The upper surface of these leaves is medium to dark green and finely pubescent (sometimes sparsely); their margins are ciliate. Each leaf tapers gradually to a sessile or nearly sessile base, while its tip may be acute or blunt; lower leaves are more likely to have short petioles and blunt tips than upper leaves. The central stem of each fertile shoot produces a terminal cyme of flowers; occasional individual flowers may develop from the axils of the upper leaves. Each flower is about ½" across, consisting of 5 green sepals, 5 white petals (looking like 10 petals, because each petal is deeply bifurcated), a white ovary with 3 styles at its apex, and 10 stamens with reddish brown anthers. The petals are about the same length or a little longer than the sepals. Each sepal is lanceolate to ovate and pubescent. The pedicel of each flower is up to 1" long and pubescent. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about a month. Each flower is replaced by an ovoid capsule that splits open at its apex, forming 6 recurved teeth. Each capsule contains many small seeds that are globoid, somewhat flattened, and minutely warty. Each seed is often slightly notched on one side. The root system consists of a taproot with slender fibrous roots. Small colonies of plants are occasionally formed.

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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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