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Dioecious perennial herb from a rhizome; stems erect, stout, 40-150 cm tall, simple or branched, hollow; plants smooth or sparsely minutely-hairy.
Mostly stem leaves, alternate, the basal and lower stem leaves stalked, 3- to 5-times 3-parted, the leaflets brownish-green, dark green or bright green above, paler, prominently veined, and hairy and/or pimply with minute glands below, leathery, egg-shaped, 15-60 mm long, 8-45 mm wide, the length 1- to 2.5-times width, the tips undivided or 2- to 5-pointy- or bluntly-lobed, margins often rolled under, the upper stem leaves unstalked; stalks smooth or sometimes hairy and/or glandular-hairy.
Inflorescence a many-flowered, pyramidal panicle, the flowers unisexual, male and female flowers on separate plants; all flower stalks usually smooth, rarely hairy or glandular-hairy; petals absent; sepals 4 (-6), whitish, lanceolate, 3-5 mm long; stamens 18-25, the filaments white to purplish, threadlike, 2-6.5 mm long, the anthers 1-3.6 mm long, sharp-pointed.
Achenes, about 10, egg- to spindle-shaped, 2-4.6 mm long, strongly veined, usually hairy and/or glandular, unstalked or stalks to 1 mm long; beaks often deciduous, spindle-shaped, 1.5-4.5 mm long, straight.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia