Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
DescriptionThis native perennial plant is about 1' tall and unbranched. The central stem is light green to reddish green and quite hairy. Some plants produce a single basal leaf on a long hairy petiole, while others do not. All plants produce a pair of leaves on short hairy petioles near the apex of the central stem. The basal leaf is up to 8" long and across, while the upper leaves are somewhat smaller. Both types of leaves are palmately lobed (about 5 lobes), and doubly serrated or cleft along the margins. While the plant is in bloom, they are quite wrinkled and hairy in appearance, but become less so with maturity. A single flower develops from the uppermost leaf of the stem. This flower is about ½" across, consisting of 3 deciduous sepals, no petals, approximately 40 spreading stamens, and approximately 12 clustered pistils in the center. The greenish white sepals drop early and are not present while the flower is in bloom. The stamens have white filaments and yellow or greenish yellow anthers. The flattened pistils have short beaks and they are initially green. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks. By mid- to late summer, the pistils have become a small cluster of bright red berries. Each berry contains 1 or 2 black shiny seeds. The root system consists of knotty yellow rhizomes and fibrous roots. This plant reproduces vegetatively and by seed. It occasionally forms small colonies.