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This perennial plant is usually unbranched and 2–3½' tall. The central stem is light green, terete, and sparingly to densely hairy. The alternate leaves are up 6" long and 1½" across, but they are typically about one-half of this maximum size. The rough-textured leaves are lanceolate in shape and coarsely serrated along their margins; they have a tendency to curl upward along their central veins. The lower leaves have short petioles, while the upper ones are sessile. The undersides of leaves usually have fine hairs.  The central stem terminates in a spike-like raceme of showy red flowers (rarely white). This raceme is about ½–1½' long. The red corolla of each flower has a narrow tubular structure that is upright and terminates in grayish white reproductive organs; these organs nod downward. Beneath this are 2 narrow lateral lobes and a lower lip that is 3-lobed. The green calyx is deeply divided into 5 linear teeth that spread outward. The flowers are held at an upward angle in relation to the stem; they are about 1–1½" long and ¾–1" across. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall, lasting about 1–1½ months. There is no floral scent. The small seeds can be carried aloft by the wind. The root system consists of a taproot. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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