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This native perennial plant is 2½–5' tall and unbranched, except near the inflorescence at the apex. The stout central stem is covered with fine white hairs that are quite short. It may have some light purple coloration in some areas. The alternate leaves are up to 5" long and 2" across. They are lanceolate or lanceolate-ovate with serrated margins. Their green upper surface is rough-textured, while the lower surface is finely pubescent with some short white hairs on the major veins. The leaves are short-petioled or sessile against the stem. At the apex of the plant is a loose cluster of flowerheads that is more or less flattened on top. Each flowerhead has 15-30 magenta disk florets and no ray florets. At the base of the flowerhead, are numerous green bracts with recurved tips (i.e., they have a tendency to curl outward). A disk floret has 5 narrow lobes that spread outward, and a prominent divided style. The tips of the style often curl back to form a pair of small coils. The blooming period is mid- to late summer, and lasts about a month. There is no floral scent. The disk florets are replaced by bristly achenes that are flat and oblong. The root system is coarsely fibrous and produces rhizomes, which enable the vegetative spread of this plant. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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