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This native perennial plant is up to 3½' tall. An individual stem is sparsely branched and rather spindly in appearance, however mature plants often tiller at the base, sending up multiple stems that create a shrubby appearance. The stems are initially green with lines of small white hairs, but they often turn brown and become bare of leaves with age. The alternate leaves are up to 4" long and ½" wide near the base of the plant, but become much smaller as they ascend the flowering stems. They are linear or oblong, and have smooth margins. Tiny white hairs on the leaves provide a frost-like appearance, but this characteristic can vary considerably with the individual specimen or local ecotype. The flowering stems are rather long with conspicuous needle-like leaves, and they are held erect or horizontal to the ground. The daisy-like compound flowers have numerous disk florets that are yellow, later becoming reddish, which are surrounded by ray florets that are white, rarely light pink or purple. There is no noticeable floral scent. Each compound flower is about ½" across and has 16-35 ray florets. The blooming period occurs during the fall for about 1½ months. The seeds have small tufts of white or brownish hairs, which are distributed by the wind. The root system is initially fibrous, but develops a caudex on mature plants.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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