This native perennial plant is 12½' tall, branching sparingly. The stems are green or reddish green, and glabrous or slightly hairy; when they are present, the hairs are curved or appressed against the stem. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 4" across (excluding the petioles). They are pinnately divided into 3-7 deep lobes and their margins are coarsely toothed or shallowly cleft. The lobes of these leaves have acute tips. The upper surface of the earliest leaves in spring has small patches of white that are scattered across the upper surface; these white patches don't develop in later leaves. Each upper stem terminates in 1 or 2 stalks of flowers. These flowering stalks (or peduncles) are quite long and devoid of leaves. Each stalk terminates in a dense cyme of flowers about 2" across; each cyme contains about 8-20 flowers. Each flower is about 1/3" long, consisting of a corolla with 5 lobes, a hairy green calyx with 5 slender teeth, 5 stamens, and a slender white style that is divided at its tip. The corolla is white, pink, or light purple; its oblong lobes spread apart only slightly. The stamens are strongly exerted from the corolla and quite conspicuous; they have hairy white filaments and brownish anthers. The blooming period usually occurs during late spring to early summer and lasts about 1 month; some plants may bloom a little earlier or later than this. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that splits open to release the seeds. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots and rhizomes. Occasionally, this plant forms colonies.
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