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Perennial herb from a woody stem-base, rarely with rhizomes; stems erect, 30-100 cm tall, smooth to sparsely hairy.
Basal, 1 to 5, ascending, palmately 3-parted, 8-20 cm wide, the divisions oblanceolate to egg-shaped, 2-9 cm long, the margins coarsely toothed and incised in the upper 1/2, the lateral leaflets usually 1- or 2-lobed or parted, the ultimate segments 10-30 (40) mm wide, long soft-hairy; stalks 5-35 cm long.
Inflorescence a (1-) 2- to 9-flowered, terminal cyme; flower stalks long soft-hairy, primary stalks 1 to 3, 1 or 2 often with a secondary involucre of 1 to 3 flowers; primary involucral bracts 3 (-5), secondary 2 (3), leaf-like, stalked, similar to basal leaves; petals absent; sepals usually 5, petal-like, white or greenish, rarely red, oblong to elliptic or egg-shaped, 5-10 mm long, 2-5 mm wide, woolly-hairy on outside, smooth or nearly so inside; stamens 50-70.
Achenes, numerous in an egg-shaped to cylindric head on stalks 13-25 cm long, the achenes egg-shaped, 2-3.7 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, not winged, densely woolly-hairy; beaks curved, 1-1.5 mm long, minutely-hairy, not feathery.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia