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Perennial tufted herb from a fibrous root; stems somewhat compressed, simple, 10-30 cm tall.
Basal leaves reduced, bractlike, blades lacking or sometimes 1-2 cm long; stem leaves 2 to 4, linear, on the lower 1/2 of stem, sheathing, the blades 10-30 cm long, 1.5-3 mm wide, the tips long-pointed.
Inflorescence of (1) 2 or 3 showy, nodding flowers on slender, flexuous, 3- to 4-cm long stalks; flowers reddish-purple, of 6 distinct oblanceolate to egg-shaped segments, these similar, 1.5-2.5 cm long, 5-nerved, abruptly pointed, the tubes slightly inflated below, 1-2 mm long; bracts 2, unequal, the upper one usually exceeding the flowers; filaments fused about 1/3 to 1/2 their length; anthers 3-7 mm long, yellow.
Capsules, 5-9 mm long; seeds numerous, egg-shaped, brown, 1.5-2.5 mm long.
Two varieties occur in BC
1. Perianth segments dark red-purple; filament tubes only slightly enlarged above the base; flowers commonly 2 per stem; plants of SW BC .....................var. douglasii
1. Perianth segments pale purple; filament tubes with an inflated area just above the base; flowers commonly 3 per stem; plants of SC BC.......................... var. inflatum (Suksd.) Cholewa & Henderson
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia