Stem, unbranched, smooth below the flower-panicle, 2 to 4 feet high. Leaves, lance-shaped or oblong, much pointed, finely toothed, rough on the margins, the lower 4 to 9 inches long, with winged petioles. Flowers, small, much crowded in a long, terminal panicle. July to September.
S. patula. - Stems, smooth, sharply 4-angled, often 7 feet high. Leaves, linear, smooth beneath, very rough above. This unusual roughness of the upper surfaces of the leaves will identify the species. Leaves pinnately veined, those below very large, 3 to 16 inches, finely toothed. Upper ones entire, small, lance-shaped. Flowers, numerous, on separate and spreading branches which have leafy bracts.
In swamps, Maine to Minnesota south to Georgia and Texas. In mountains 5,000 feet high in North Carolina.
S. Elliottii. - Stem, smooth, stout, 3 to 6 feet high, simple as far as the flowers begin, then, perhaps, branched. Leaves, not much toothed, oblong or lance-shaped, obtuse at base, without petioles, rough along the margins, downy along the veins beneath. Flowers, in showy, not crowded, spreading racemes.
Swamps, Massachusetts to North Carolina and Georgia, near the coast.
S. neglecta. - Stem, smooth or roughish, 2 to 4 feet high, leafy, acute, mostly entire, the lower on long, margined petioles. Flowers, in a rather dense raceme, on spreading branches, on the upper side, recurved. August to October.
Swamps and banks of running streams, New England to Maryland and Illinois.
S. arguia. - Leaves, thin, large, serrate, entire on the branches, acute, the lower with margined petioles; the upper linear or lancc-shaped. Flowers, a greenish yellow, with 6 or 7 large rays, open, spreading, in rather short and loose racemes, making an elongated panicle. Stem, smooth and sharply angled. August and September.
Open woods or moist thickets, Maine to Michigan and southward.