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This herbaceous perennial plant produces a stem about ½–1' long that often sprawls across the ground or leans against adjacent vegetation. This stem is light green and glabrous. The alternate leaves are up to 2½" long and 2" across; they are orbicular-cordate to cordate, medium green, mostly hairless, and crenate along their margins. While some young leaves are initially pubescent, they later become mostly hairless. The petioles of these leaves are light green and hairless; they are about as long as the leaves. At the base of each petiole, there is a pair of large stipules up to 1" long. These stipules are light green, lanceolate to ovate in shape, and hairless; they have conspicuous narrow teeth along their margins. Individual flowers develop from the axils of the leaves on slender pedicels. These pedicels are up to 4" long; they are erect to ascending, light green, and hairless. The apices of these pedicels are abruptly curved downward so that the flowers are more or less horizontal. Each flower is about ¾" across, consisting of 5 white rounded petals, 5 light green sepals, a pistil, and inserted stamens. The two lower lateral petals have patches of fine white hairs (or beards) near the throat of the flower, while the lowermost petal has purple veins that function as nectar guides. The nectar spur of the flower is rather short and blunt. The throat of the flower is white, rather than yellow. The sepals are linear-lanceolate in shape and hairless; they are shorter than the petals. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer, lasting about 1½ months for a colony of plants. There is no noticeable floral scent. If these flowers are cross-pollinated, they will produce ovoid seedpods that are about ¼" in length and glabrous. Later in the year, inconspicuous cleistogamous flowers are produced; they are self-fertile and lack showy petals. At maturity, each seedpod splits open into 3 parts to eject its seeds. These seeds are about 2 mm. across, globoid in shape, and brown. The root system produces rhizomes and fibrous secondary roots. This plant can form clonal offsets through its rhizomes. It sometimes forms colonies. Cultivation


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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