Prenanthes trifoliata is a perennial herb 0.45 – 1.2 m tall , hairless, sometimes slightly waxy-looking.
Leaves alternate, 3-lobed to many-lobed, very variable, upper leaves less or not lobed.
Flowers cream-white to greenish-white, 10-12, all rays, heads small, nodding, bracteate base 1-1.4 cm long with about 8 bracts, waxy-pale, often purplish, outer bracts shorter, 0.2 cm long; inflorescence branched, rather sparse; blooming and fruiting Aug.-Sept. (Hough 1983).
Fruit dry, achenes with brownish plume.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Upland, open, undisturbed forest, often in sandy soil. Found in forest soil pH 5.0-5.2 (Gargiullo unpublished data).
Notes: Recent DNA studies (“nuclear ribosomal ITS marker region”) have classified all our Prenanthes as belonging to the genus Nabalus, of the tribe Cichorieae in the family Asteraceae (Shilling et al. 2015).