Herbs , erect to decumbent, to 0.6 m. Young stem ridged, glabrous to hispid. Leaves: petiole 0.5-3.5 cm. Leaf blade lanceolate to ovate, 5-15 × 1-5 cm, base truncate to cordate, sinus depth 0-1.5 cm, apex acute to acuminate; surfaces abaxially glabrous or hispid; venation pinnate. Inflorescences from base of stem, an additional flower in axil of stem leaf, racemes; peduncle bracteolate, to 1.5 cm; bracteoles lanceolate, to 3 mm. Flowers: calyx brown-purple, bent; utricle pendent, pear-shaped to ovoid, 0.5-5 cm; syrinx present, ringlike, 1 mm, oblique; tube bent, cylindric, 1 cm; annulus smooth; limb purplish brown, 3-lobed, lobes 0.5 × 0.5 cm, glabrous; gynostemium 3-lobed, globose to crown-shaped, 1.5 mm; anthers 6; ovary 3-locular, to 1.5 cm. Capsule globose, 0.8-2 × 1-2 cm, dehiscence basipetal; valves 6; septa absent. Seeds rounded, ovate, 0.5 × 0.4 cm. 2 n = 28.
"Stems erect from a rhizome, to 6 dm, thinly hairy; lvs ovate to oblong or nearly linear, acuminate, truncate to sagittate or cordate at base, 6–12 cm; lower lvs reduced to scales; fls solitary on slender, scaly peduncles from the lowest nodes; perianth S- shaped, enlarged at base and summit, 1–2 cm, the spreading limb madder-purple, unequally or indistinctly 3-lobed; 2n=28. Moist or dry upland woods; Conn. and s. N.Y. to s. Mich., Ill. and Mo., s. to Fla. and Tex. May, June."