IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This perennial wildflower is consists of a low rosette of basal leaves spanning about 6" across, from which one or more flowering stalks develop. The basal leaves are up to 3½" long and 3½" across; they are ovate-cordate, cordate, to nearly orbicular in shape and their margins are crenate-serrate. Leaf bases are indented, while leaf tips are rounded to bluntly pointed. The upper leaf surface is medium green and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale-medium green and glabrous (or nearly so). Leaf venation is mostly palmate. The petioles are up to 4" long, light green, and glabrous. Solitary flowers are produced at the tips of pedicels up to 7" long. The erect to ascending pedicels are light green to light purplish green and glabrous. Each flower is about ¾" across, consisting of 5 medium to dark blue-violet petals (rarely white), 5 light green sepals, and the reproductive organs. The petals are elliptic-obovate in shape and about twice the length of the sepals. The 2 lateral petals have short white hairs with swollen tips near the throat of the flower. The lowermost petal has a patch of white with radiating purple veins in the front, while in the back it has a short stout nectar spur. The sepals are linear-lanceolate and glabrous; they usually have pointed auricles (eared basal lobes) up to 4 mm. long. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring for about 1 month. Afterwards, successfully fertilized flowers are replaced by seed capsules about ½" long that are light green and ovoid-oblongoid in shape. In addition to these flowers, cleistogamous (self-fertile) flowers are produced that lack showy petals. The cleistogamous flowers are produced on ascending pedicels during the summer. At maturity, the capsules of both types of flowers split open into 3 sections, to eject their seeds. Individual seeds are about 2.5 mm. in length, globoid in shape, and dark-colored. The root system consists of a crown with fibrous roots and rhizomes.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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