This herbaceous perennial plant is 2½–4′ tall, branching frequently in the upper half. The opposite leaves are broadly lanceolate to ovate, and vary in color from light green to dark green, sometimes with yellow or red tints. These color variations are in part a response to environmental conditions. At the top of major stems are rounded heads of flowers about 1-3″ across. Each flower is lavender or pink, and about 1″ long, with an irregular shape. The blooming period occurs during mid-summer and lasts about 1 month. The root system consists of deep, strongly branched roots, and shallow rhizomes that are responsible for the vegetative spread of the plant. These rhizomes typically send up multiple leafy stems in a tight cluster, giving the plant a bushy appearance. The nectar of the flowers attracts long-tongued bees, bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and hummingbird moths.
- First Flower: Date the first flowers are fully open. When open, you will see the stamens among the unfolded petals.
- Full Flower: Date when half or more of the flowers are completely open
- First Ripe Fruit: Date when you notice the first fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant. Ripening is indicated by the berries turning red, yellow, orange, or maroon.
- Full Fruiting: Date when half or more of the fruits are completely ripe or seeds are dropping naturally from the plant.
- All Leaves Withered: Date when most or all of the leaves that developed this season, have lost green color or are dried and dead.
Information from: www.wildflower.org and www.illinoiswildflowers.info
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