plains snake-cotton

(Froelichia floridana var. campestris)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

plains snake-cotton

NatureServe

N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Dry. Prairies, streambanks, river banks, railroads, roadsides, disturbed sites. Full sun. Sandy soil.

Flowering

July to September

     
Flower Color

White

     
Height 20 to 40      
 
Identification

This is a 20 to 40 tall, erect, annual forb that rises on a single stem from a semi-woody taproot.

The stem is stout, usually erect or ascending, sometimes trailing on the ground but not rooting at the nodes. It may be unbranched or have a few branches at the base, and may also be branched above the middle. It is covered with short, sticky, whitish or brownish hairs. The hairs are sometimes woolly and matted or tangled.

The leaves are opposite, stalkless or nearly stalkless, and mostly on the lower of the stem. The larger leaves are elliptic inversely lance-shaped, widest above the middle, 1½ to 5½ long, and to 1¼ wide. They are wedge-shaped or taper gradually to a narrow point at the base, and are rounded at the tip or angled with the angle more than 90°. When young, the upper leaf surface is white due to a dense covering of silky or woolly hairs. At maturity the upper surface is frequently nearly hairless. The lower surface is densely covered with short, soft, matted or tangled, woolly hairs, both when young and at maturity. The margins are untoothed.

At the end of each stem and branch is an elongated, branched inflorescence (panicle) with pairs of short-stalked spikes ascending from the nodes of the central axis (rachis). The space between the lowest two nodes of the stalk is seldom over 4. The spikes are dense, pyramid-shaped, to 3 long, to 9 16 in diameter. The overall appearance is of an interrupted spike. The flowers are arranged in a dense, 5-ranked spiral.

Each flower is to ¼ wide. There are 5 white to yellowish-white sepals fused for most of their length into a flask-shaped, 2-lipped, 5-lobed tube. The sepals are densely covered with woolly hairs. There are no petals.

The fruit is a flask-shaped, inflated, 3 16 long, 3 16 wide, bladder-like pouch (utricle) containing 1 seed.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.
 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Amaranthaceae (amaranth)

 

Subfamily:

Gomphrenoideae

 

No Rank:

Gomphrenoid clade

 
Synonyms

Froelichia campestris

 
Common
Names

cottonweed

common cotton-weed

field snake-cotton

Florida snake-cotton

plains snake-cotton

plains snakecotton

prairie froelichia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Panicle

A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

 

Rachis

The main axis of a compound leaf, appearing as an extension of the leaf stalk; the main axis of an inflorescence.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Utricle

A small, dry, inflated, thin-walled, bladder-like fruit containing 1 seed.

       
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Plant

  plains snake-cotton   plains snake-cotton
       
  plains snake-cotton    
       

Inflorescence

  plains snake-cotton   plains snake-cotton
       
  plains snake-cotton    
       

Leaves

  plains snake-cotton   plains snake-cotton
       
  plains snake-cotton    
       
       

 

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