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Perennial herb from fibrous, many-branched roots; stems erect, 10-40 cm tall, glabrous to minutely-hairy, bases often reddish.
Mostly on lower stem, at time of flowering the basal leaves 2 to 7 and stem leaves 3 to 6, stalks 0.3-8 cm long, blades rounded, 1-4 cm long, 1.5-7 cm wide, reduced upward, 3- to 4-times dissected into linear segments, the ultimate segments 3 to 19 and 1-8 mm wide on basal leaves, 1-3 mm wide on stem leaves, entire, glabrous to minutely-hairy.
Inflorescence a 3- to 12-flowered, terminal raceme, the flowers bilaterally symmetric; bracts linear, 4-6 (8) mm long, minutely-hairy; flower stalks ascending to spreading, 1-4 cm long, somewhat minutely-hairy; petals 4, the upper 2 united, white or pale blue, purple-lined, spurred, enclosed in upper sepal, nectary inside spur, the lower petals 2, dark blue, covering stamens, clawed, 7-12 mm long, 2-lobed, cleft 0.1-2 mm, the hairs sparse, short, white, mostly on inner lobes on claw; sepals 5, dark blue to purple, the lateral two spreading, 16-21 mm long, 6-11 mm wide, the lower two similar to lateral, the upper one spurred, the spur straight to gently curved downward, 13-18 mm long; stamens 25 to 40; pistils 3 (-5).
Follicles, 16-22 mm long, 4- to 4.5-times longer than wide, usually minutely-hairy; beaks straight, about 3 mm long; seeds obpyramidal, dark, often winged, smooth. Note Toxic; known to cause livestock poisoning.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia