IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native shrub is 2-4' tall, more or less erect, and it is usually unbranched (see photo of Flowering Shrub). The central stem is terete and brown; it is initially covered with woolly brown hairs, but later becomes hairless and woody. Alternate leaves are abundant along the stem; they are 1½–3" long, ½–1¼" across, elliptic-oblong to ovate-oblong, somewhat leathery in texture, and coarsely toothed along their margins. The upper surfaces of the leaves are dark green and hairless, while their lower surfaces are more pale and covered with hairs that are tawny and woolly, particularly along the major veins. The petioles of the leaves are about ¼" long and and also covered with hairs that are tawny and woolly. The central stem terminates in a dense panicle of pink flowers about 4-8" long and about one-third as much across. The panicle has a narrowly pyramidal shape with short lateral branches that are ascending or spreading. These branches are covered with short tawny hairs. Individual flowers are a little less than ¼" across, consisting of a short calyx with 5 teeth, 5 spreading petals that are usually pink (less often white), a cluster of 5 pistils, and numerous exerted stamens. The delicate petals are well-rounded and rather wrinkled. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 1-2 months. The abundant flowers bloom from the top of the panicle downward, gradually turning brown. There is no noticeable floral scent. Each flower is replaced by 5 small brown follicles that are ovoid with short beaks. Each follicle splits open at the apex to release several slender seeds. The root system is woody and branching.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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