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This is an unbranched native perennial plant about 1-2' tall. Side stems may develop from upper leaf axils if the central stem is damaged. This stout central stem is 4-angled and it is covered with short white hairs that are usually appressed. The opposite leaves are up to 3½" long and 1½" across. They are broadly oblong to lanceolate in shape, and have smooth, slightly ciliate margins. The lower leaves have short stout petioles, while the upper leaves are sessile. They have deep pinnate venation and are covered with a white pubescence. The upper half of the central stem is perforated by whorled clusters of flowers. Each cluster of flowers is about 2-3" across and in the shape of a flattened sphere, with the flowers arranged in circular rows. The flowers are white, light pink, or lavender, and individually slightly less than ½" long. There are two prominent lips, with small purple spots on the lower one, and fine hairs in the back. The blooming period occurs during early summer and lasts about a month. Neither the flowers nor the leaves have a noticeable scent. The root system consists of a taproot, which forms offshoots occasionally by means of short rhizomes. The seeds are quite small, and distributed by the wind to some extent. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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