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This native perennial plant is 2-4' tall and usually unbranched, except near the apex where the flowers occur. The central stem is light green, round, and usually hairless. Sometimes fine purple streaks occur along the stem. The opposite leaves are up to 6" long and 1" across. They are narrowly ovate or ovate-oblong, with smooth margins and conspicuous pinnate and secondary venation. The margins are slightly ciliate, otherwise the leaves are hairless. The lower leaves have short petioles, while some of the upper leaves may be sessile and rounded at the base.  The central stem and a few secondary stems near the apex of the plant terminate in rather flat-headed or gently rounded panicles of flowers. These flowering stems (peduncles) are often finely pubescent. The individual flowers are about 1" long and ½–¾" across, and can occur in a variety of colors, including bright rosy pink, lavender, and white. Each flower has a long tubular corolla with 5 spreading petals that are well-rounded and overlap slightly. The tubular calyx is green (sometimes with purplish tints) and much smaller than the corolla. The teeth of this calyx are long and narrow. Sometimes the calyx is pubescent or hairy. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer and lasts about 1½ months. The flowers are quite fragrant. The small seed capsules have 3-cells and are oval in shape. Each cell usually contains 2 small seeds. The root system consists of a taproot. Small clumps of plants are often formed.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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