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Annual herb from a slender taproot; stems ascending to erect, simple, several, red or green, 1-15 cm tall.
Basal leaves usually many, prostrate to spreading, smaller inward, elliptic, the blades 0.5-2 cm long, the bases tapered abruptly or squared off, the stalks 1-6 cm long; stem leaves paired, opposite, usually unequally fused, less than 4 cm wide.
Inflorescence of whorled racemes with 3-30 unstalked or stalked flowers, with one bract subtending the lowest flower; flower stalks red or green; petals 5, white or pinkish, 2-3.5 mm long; sepals 2, 1.5-3 mm long.
Capsules; seeds 3, round to egg-shaped, black, shiny, smooth (at 20x magnification), the ap pendages white, fleshy, 1.5-3 mm long.
See comments under C. parviflora. Two closely related subspecies occur in our region:
1. Basal leaf blades widely elliptic to egg-shaped, the bases abruptly tapered; inflorescence more or less unstalked; only leaf stalks often red................ ssp. depressa (A. Gray) J. Miller & Chambers
1. Basal leaf blades diamond- or triangular-shaped, the bases squared off; inflorescence more or less stalked; plants and leaf stalks often red................... ssp. rubra
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia