The leaves of this plant are its conspicuous feature. A few near the top are long and narrow, but most of them are boat-shaped, with heavy ribs, and from six to twelve inches long. They are bright yellowish-green and, although somewhat coarse, the general effect is distinctly handsome, as we see masses of them growing luxuriantly in rich, moist meadows and marshes in the mountains. When they first come up in the spring, the shoots are packed into green rosettes, in which the leaves are intricately folded, but they soon grow to a height of three to six feet. The flowers are beautiful, in fine contrast to the coarse foliage. They measure about half an inch across and are cream-white, streaked with green, and form a fine cluster about a foot long. The flowers are far prettier and the plants handsomer than their eastern relations and they flourish at an altitude of six to nine thousand feet. The plants are supposed to be poisonous to cattle, but in a recent bulletin of the Agricultural Experiment Station of the State of Washington, it is reported as being a popular food with horses and sheep, particularly the latter, which eat it greedily and without ill effects.
There are several kinds of Hastingsia, perennials, with bulbs or rootstocks; the stamens on the base of the perianth, with swinging anthers; the ovary with a very short stalk and short style.