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Perennial herb from a stout rhizome with fibrous roots; stems coarse, stiff, erect, 0.5-1.2 m tall, sometimes forked above, glandular and long-hairy.
Alternate, interruptedly odd-pinnately compound, the 5 to 11 main leaflets interspersed with much smaller ones; leaflets elliptic to egg-shaped, 2-10 cm long, coarsely saw-toothed, tapering to sharp tip, dark green and nearly smooth above, paler, soft-hairy on the veins and glandular-dotted beneath; stipules leaf-like, half-heart-shaped, to 2 cm long.
Inflorescence a long, slender, terminal, spike-like raceme of 10 to 50 small, short-stalked flowers, the racemes 10-40 cm long, the axis glandular and with long spreading hairs; corollas yellow, saucer-shaped, the petals 5, oblong, 2-4 mm long; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes broadly lanceolate, spreading then converging after flowering and forming a beak on the fruit, the hypanthium conic, grooved, hooked-prickly; ovaries superior; stamens 5 to 15.
Achenes, 2, seed-like, enclosed within the enlarged hardened hypanthium, the hypanthium grooved, glandular-dotted, with a crown of spreading, hooked bristles; entire bur-like fruit including the beak 6-8 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia