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This native perennial wildflower is ¾–1½' tall and unbranched. It consists of a central stem with 3 terminal leaves; a mature plant will produce a single stalked flower. The central stem is terete, glabrous, and pale green or pale reddish-green. The terminal leaves are arranged in a whorl at the apex of this stem. Each leaf is up to 6" long and 5" across; it is oval-ovate or oval in shape, medium green, and glabrous. Each leaf has smooth margins and parallel primary veins. The single flower spans about 3-4" across on a stalk about 1-3" long. This stalk is ascending or erect; the flower is held above the leaves and usually leans to the side (but doesn't droop downward). Each flower consists of 3 white petals, 3 green sepals, a central white ovary, 6 stamens, and 3 stigmas. The petals are ovate-obovate, widely spreading, and usually longer than the sepals; they often become light pink with age. The sepals are lanceolate and widely spreading. The dull yellow stigmas are slender and either straight or slightly recurved. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a 6-angled seed capsule that becomes dark with age; it eventually splits open to release the seeds. The root system consists of a vertical rootstock with fibrous roots; spreading rhizomes are also produced. Occasionally, this wildflower forms loose colonies of variable size.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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