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This perennial wildflower consists of a rosette, or clustered rosettes, of basal leaves from which one or more flowering stalks develop. The ascending to spreading basal leaves are 1-6" long and 1/8–1/2" across; they are dark green, linear-oblanceolate in shape, smooth along their margins, and mostly hairless. The leaves of plants that are under stress from drought may become grayish green. Individual flowerheads develop at the apex of unbranched stalks that are 4-12" high; these flowering stalks are more or less erect. The stalks are rather stout and more or less finely pubescent. Individual flowerheads span 1-1¾" across, consisting of 10-30 ray florets that surround a dense cluster of 50 or more disk florets. The petal-like rays of the ray florets are ¼–¾" long, bright yellow, oblong in shape, and divided into 3 blunt teeth at their tips. The tiny disk florets are golden yellow, tubular in shape, and lobed along their upper rims. Both ray and disk florets are fertile. Around the base of each flowerhead, there are green floral bracts (phyllaries) in 2-3 series. Individual floral bracts are about ¼" in length, finely pubescent, and oblong-ovate with rounded tips. The blooming period usually occurs from late spring to early summer. A colony of plants may bloom for about a month. The florets are replaced by small achenes that are angular and finely pubescent; they become mature during the summer. At the apex of each achene, there is a tiny crown of 5 or more chaffy scales that are lanceolate in shape. The achenes are distributed by gravity and wind, although they usually don't travel far from the mother plant. The root system consists of a short stout caudex that eventually branches, forming a cluster of plants from vegetative offsets.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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