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Wild Coffee Triosteum perfoliatum

 

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Wild Coffee - flower and habit
credit: Pete Curtis, Minneflora/CCSA

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Alternate name: Feverwort, Tinker's-weed

Family: Caprifoliaceae, Honeysuckle view all from this family



Description A coarse plant with hairy, sticky stems and few-flowered clusters of small, tubular, red to greenish flowers in axils of upper leaves.
Habit: native perennial herb; one or many erect, short-haired, unbranched stems; taprooted.
Height: 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m)
Leaf: opposite, strongly clasping, ovate to lanceolate, edges may be slightly wavy, 4-10 in (10-25 cm) long, to 4 in (10 cm) wide.
Flower: tube or trumpet, 5-parted, red-purple to yellow-green, 0.5 in (12 mm) long; clustered 1-6 per leaf axil.
Fruit: round berry, yellow-orange, 0.3 in (8 mm) wide, in clusters at leaf axils.


Flower May to July.


Habitat Dry sites: open woods, rocky slopes, bluffs, savannas, limestone glades and thickets.


Range Eastern and central North America: Ontario and Quebec; New York and Massachusetts, south to Georgia, west to Texas, northeast to Nebraska and Minnesota; not reported in Mississippi.


Discussion Also known as feverwort, late horse gentian, broad tinker's weed. Protected in Massachusets and Rhode Island. The fruit can be dried, roasted, ground, and used as a coffee substitute.

The genus name refers to the fruit's trio of bony seeds. A closely related species with a similar range, Horse Gentian (T. aurantiacum), has a smooth stem. Narrow-leaved Horse Gentian (T. augustifolium) has yellow flowers and leaves to 2 (5 cm) long.


 

 

 

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