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Perennial herb from a short, strong rhizome; flowering stems erect, 10-50 cm tall, often smooth below, smooth or glandular-hairy above especially below the inflorescence, the hairs long and cylindric.
Basal leaves several, tufted, broadly linear, 5-20 cm long, 2-4 mm wide, smooth, sheathing at the base, folded in iris-like fashion, the margins entire; stem leaves reduced or lacking, often 1, sometimes 2 to 3, near or below midlength.
Inflorescence a compact, spike-like, 2- to 6-cm long, terminal cluster of several to many, stalked flowers in bunches of 2 or 3 at each node of the inflorescence, the stalks 1-7 mm long, sticky-glandular hairy, ascending to erect, with bracts at the tips; flowers white to yellow-green, cup-shaped, of 6 similar, distinct tepals, the tepals oblong-egg-shaped, 3-6 mm long, the inner 3 somewhat narrower and longer than the outer 3; stamens 6, the anthers often purplish and conspicuous; pistil 1, 3-chambered.
Capsules, 3-lobed and 3-beaked, erect, red or yellowish, 5-9 mm long; seeds numerous, about
1 mm long, enclosed in loose, whitish, spongy coats, with short appendages at one end.
Two subspecies occur in BC:
1. Hairs of the upper stems and inflorescence relatively slender, 3 to 4 times as long as thick, nearly uniform in diameter and smooth.................... ssp. montana (Hitchc.) Packer
1. Hairs of the upper stems and inflorescence relatively thick, 2 (3) times as long as thick, tapered and somewhat pimpled..................... ssp. brevistyla (Hitchc.) Packer
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia