This herbaceous perennial plant is unbranched and ¾–3′ tall. The central stem is slightly ridged and hairless. The odd-pinnate compound leaves alternate as they ascend the stem. They consist of 3-7 leaflets and tend to be quite short, approximately 2-5″ long. Each leaflet is dark green, linear in shape, and about 1″ long and 1/8″ across. At the top of the plant is a dense cylindrical spike of flowers about 1-2″ long and about half as much or less across. Each purple flower is about ¼” across, with 5 small petals and 5 golden anthers that protrude outward. These flowers bloom together as a flowery wreath at the bottom of the spike, which gradually moves upward at the season progresses. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer, and lasts about 1–1½ months. The root system consists of a stout taproot that runs deep into the ground. The seeds travel only a short distance from the mother plant when the cylindrical spikes are shaken by the wind.
- 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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