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Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant: Barbara’s Buttons

Published 5:17pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is a perennial herb that grows 1-2 feet tall, singly or in clusters from a low, woody base.  The leaves are narrowly oblong and tapering and have three parallel veins. Leaves near the bottom of the stem have a short petiole (stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem), but farther up the stem, the leaves are attached directly to the main stem. It is a member of the Asteraceae family, and the solitary, disk-shaped flower heads are about 1-2 inches wide and range in color from white, pale purple, to pink.  They bloom from May through August.

The plant prefers wet forests or meadows and also occurs on stream banks. It tolerates partial shade, but flowers best in direct sunlight. It is most commonly found in habitat that has been scoured by flooding. Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is historically known to grow in bogs.

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