IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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Description

This native perennial plant is about ½' tall when it blooms, but later becomes up to 1½' tall. It consists of a few basal leaves and a single flowering stalk with a whorl of 3 leaves. The flowering stalk is densely covered with long white hairs that are soft and silky. The basal leaves are palmately divided in compound linear lobes. Each of these linear lobes often have a few coarse teeth along their margins. The upper surface of each basal leaf is relatively hairless, but the lower surface often has long white hairs that are soft and silky. Each basal leaf develops from a long petiole that is hairy like the flowering stalk and lower surface of the leaf blade. The whorled leaves are similar to the basal leaves, except that they are sessile and smaller in size. Above the whorled leaves, is a stout hairy peduncle that bears a single large flower at its apex. This peduncle continues to elongated after the flower sheds its petals. Each flower is up to 3" across when fully open, consisting of 5-8 petal-like sepals, an elongated cluster of white to purple styles, and a ring of numerous yellow stamens. There are no petals. The sepals are pale purple to deep purple and softly hairy on their exterior surface. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-spring and lasts about 2 weeks. The flowers are short-lived and usually bloom on spring days that are sunny and warm. After shedding their sepals, the styles of the flowers become plumose and elongated (individually up to 1½" long); they have a silky appearance. At the base of each mature style, there is a flattened achene. Because of their plumose styles, these achenes can be blown about by the wind. The root system consists of a woody taproot; this becomes swollen into a caudex on older plants, from which several flowering stalks may develop. Pasque Flower spreads into new areas by reseeding itself.

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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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