Stems: scarcely rising out of the ground, smooth. Leaves: compound, leaflets oblong-ovate, pointed, serrate. Flowers: in umbels.

The somewhat woody stems of this plant are extremely short and have a single long-stalked compound leaf, and a shorter naked flower-stalk bearing usually three umbels of numerous little greenish flowers. The long horizontal root is very aromatic, and is often sold as a substitute for the genuine Sarsaparilla; while the fruit is dark purple and berry-like.