IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial plant is about 3-7' tall and usually unbranched, except near the inflorescence. The central stem is green or purplish green and pubescent or hairy. The alternate leaves are up to 10" long and 2½" across; they are narrowly ovate, lanceolate-oblong, or elliptic in shape, and their margins are serrated. The upper surface of each leaf is dark green and hairless; the lower surface is a lighter shade of green and hairless, pubescent, or somewhat hairy. The base of each leaf has a short petiole, or it is sessile. The central stem terminates in a flat-headed panicle of flowerheads. The base of each flowerhead consists of a short cylinder of appressed floral bracts spanning about 5 mm. across; the floral bracts are dark green, purplish green, or brown, broadly ovate in shape, and often finely pubescent or ciliate along their margins. The apex of each flowerhead consists of 10-30 disk florets and no ray florets. The magenta corolla of each disk floret is tubular with 5 recurved narrow lobes, while the exerted style is bifurcated and strongly recurved. The peduncles of the flowerheads are usually finely pubescent. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall and lasts about 1–1½ months. There is no noticeable floral scent. Each disk floret is replaced by a small achene that is brown and bullet-shaped; the apex of each achene has a small tuft of both short and long hair hairs (or bristles) that are pale purple to tawny. These achenes are distributed by the wind. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. Small clumps of plants are produced from the rhizomes.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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