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This herbaceous perennial plant is about 2-3½' tall and unbranched. The central stem is glabrous, glaucous, and terete (circular) in circumference; it leans over to one side. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 3½" across; they are spaced fairly close together along the stem. These leaves are pale green, elliptic to ovate in shape, smooth (entire) along their margins, and glabrous; they have parallel veins and clasp the stem. From the axils of the middle and upper leaves, there are nodding umbels of 2-5 flowers (rarely more than this). A typical plant will have 12-20 of these umbels, which hang below the leaves. The peduncles (about 1¼" in length) and pedicels (about ½" in length) of the umbels are slender, green, and glabrous. The flowers are about ½-¾" (13-18 mm.) in length. Each flower has a narrow tubular corolla that is whitish green or pale yellowish green. Along the outer rim of this corolla, there are 6 small lobes that are slightly recurved. Within the interior of the corolla, there is a pistil with a single style and 6 stamens. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer, lasting about 3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a globoid berry that is about 8-10 mm. across. The berries are initially green, but they eventually become dark blue-violet. The root system produces rhizomes that are rather stout and knobby; on the upper surface of these rhizomes, there are circular scars. This plant often forms clonal colonies.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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