Annuals, 15-40(-60) cm. Stems branched; hairs stalked, glandular throughout. Leaves: petiole green to purple, angled, (0.2-)0.5-0.8(-1) cm; leaflet blade linear to narrowly elliptic, 1.5-2.8 × 0.1-0.2 cm, margins entire, apex acute, mucronulate, surfaces densely glandular abaxially, sparsely glandular adaxially. Racemes 1-3 cm (6-8 cm in fruit); bracts trifoliate, ovate, 5-15 mm. Pedicels 5-15 mm. Flowers: sepals pale yellow, glandular, lanceolate, 1.6-2.6 × 0.8-1.2 mm, margins entire, apex acute to obtuse; petals white, oblong-ovate, clawed, abaxial pair 1.5-3 × 1-2 mm (6 or 7-lobed), apex emarginate to lacerate, adaxial pair 3-5 × 2-3 mm (4 or 5-lobed), apex emarginate to lacerate; nectary glands yellow (drying purple), 0.5-1 mm; stamens 6-9, slightly exserted, yellow, 3.2-5.2 mm; anthers yellow, 0.5-1 mm; gynophore 2-4 mm in fruit; ovary 2.5-5(-7) mm; style persistent in fruit, 2.5-4.5 mm; stigma red. Capsules 8-30 × 2-4 mm, reticulate, glandular. Seeds 18-36, bright reddish brown, globose to oblong, 1.8-2 mm, pebbled (without transverse ridges). 2n = 20.
Flowering summer-early fall. Sandy soil, often in blowouts in prairies and stabilized dunes; of conservation concern; 200-1400 m; Colo., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Minn., Nebr., N.Mex., Ohio, Okla., S.Dak., Tex., Wis.
Populations of Polanisia jamesii in Indiana and Ohio are adventive.
Stems 1-3(-4) dm; petioles usually shorter than the blades; lfls linear or linear-elliptic, 0.5-4 cm נ0.5-4 mm; fls few (5-9 open fls and buds); bracts trifoliolate; pet white to ochroleucous, strongly dimorphic, the larger pair 4-5 mm, emarginate and shallowly laciniate with 3-6 segments, the smaller 2-3 mm and more deeply laciniate; stamens 6-9; nectary 2-3.5 נ0.5 mm, tubular, yellow, persistent and drying pink-purple; style 0.5-2 mm, persistent in fr; frs linear-fusiform, slightly inflated, 1.5-3 cm נ3-4 mm, dehiscing nearly to the base; seeds 4-18, 1.7-1.8 mm; 2n=20. Sandy prairies and plains; Great Plains (n. as far as S.D.) e. to Wis. and Ill. (Cristatella j.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.