SLENDER GREENTHREAD
File Size: 62 KB
 
Thelesperma megapotamicum   (Spreng. ) Kuntze
Mitchell County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 12-30 inches
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July, August
Also Called: Indian tea, rayless thelesperma.
Stems: Erect, slender, single or clustered, branched above, bluish green, glabrous.
Leaves: Opposite, short-stalked to sessile, erect or ascending, rigid, 1.5 to 3.5 inches long, simple or deeply pinnately divided with linear segments about 1/8 inch wide; evenly but sparsely distributed along stem, sometimes concentrated on lower 1/2.
Inflorescences: Heads, solitary, terminal, on stalks 3-9 inches long, cup-shaped, to 3/4 inch wide.
Flowers: Bracts of 2 sizes; outer bracts 4-6, oblong to ovate, much shorter than inner; inner bracts 8, ovate-lanceolate, united at bases; ray florets absent; disk florets numerous, corollas deeply lobed, yellow with reddish brown veins.
Fruits: Achenes, about 1/4 inch long, dark brown, tipped with 2 triangular, barbed awns, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Open prairies, pastures, and roadsides, particularly in rocky limestone soil.
Distribution: Throughout but infrequent in east 1/3 of Kansas.
Origin: Native
Uses: Native Americans in the Southwest made a tea-like beverage from slender greenthread. Flowers yielded rust-colored dye and roots yielded a yellowish orange dye.
Comments: Slender greenthread is well adapted to a dry climate and dry soil.

Slender greenthread inflorescence
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Slender greenthread
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Slender green thread head
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