Kitten TailsKITTEN TAILS

Besseya bullii

Snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae)

Description:  Small, unbranched plants to 15" tall, with hairy stems and leaves.  The basal leaves are long-stalked, heart-shaped, up to 5" long, and have toothed edges.  the single flower stalk has a series of small, stalkless, alternate leaves belows the dense flower cluster, which is up to 6" long.  Each 1/4"-long flower is on a short stalk above a small leaflike bract, and consists of a 4-toothed, green calyx and a 2-lipped, pale yellow corolla with the upper lip longer than the calyx and the short lower lip usually divided into 3 irregular lobes.  A style and 2 yellow stamens protrude from the flower.

Late spring -- early summer.

Habitat/range:  Rare and local in dry prairies, usually on open slopes in clay, gravel, or sand among sparse low vegetation; scattered in the central tallgrass region from Ohio to Minnesota, south to central Illinois.