Flowers: growing in racemes one to three feet in length. Calyx: of four or five early falling sepals. Corolla: very irregular, two of the petals appearing like transformed stamens. Stamens: numerous; with protruding filaments that give the whole a feathery appearance. Pistils: one, two or three. Leaves: alternate; pinnately-divided, the leaflets deeply toothed. Stem: three to eight feet high.
It is well that the Indians have given this plant the reputation of being efficacious for snake-bite; and that its generic name, signifying to drive away bugs, endues it with the power of expelling plant vermin. Otherwise we might be inclined to shower anathemas upon it, as a deceitful thing that beckons us to its presence by its wand-like racemes and then treats us to such an unpleasant odour that we are prone to hasten away as swiftly as possible. It may truly be classed among those objects to which, from the standpoint of frail humanity, distance lends enchantment.