Stems: erect, leafy, simple or sometimes loosely branched. Leaves: pinnately parted into narrowly linear segments, mucronulate. Flowers: calyx glandular, tube campanulate, as long as the subulate teeth, corolla tubular-funnelform, the lobes ovate or lanceolate, acuminate. Fruit; seeds developing mucilage and spiral threads when wetted,

The scarlet flowers of this plant are spotted with white, and grow in a narrow, loose, cylindrical panicle, they are sessile in small short-stalked clusters, and the tubular-funneliform corolla has ovate, pointed lobes that are widely spreading and soon recurved. The stamens are inserted in the throat or below the sinuses of the corolla. The thickish leaves of this tall biennial Gilia are compound and mostly petioled, being pinnately parted into narrow, pointed segments. The seeds develop mucilage and spiral threads when wetted. The plant has a very disagreeable smell.