A trailing or partly climbing vine, somewhat woody and perennial below, glabrous or nearly so. Leaves trifoliate; leaflets thin, ovate, acute, toothed or entire and more or less cordate; petioles and petiolules slender. Flowers purplish blue, 2 to 4 inches broad, solitary on slender peduncles in the axils of the leaves or at the ends of the branches. Sepals four, thin and translucent, strongly veined, silky along the margins and veins; petals four, spatulate, one-half to two-thirds of an inch long; stamens very numerous, the outer ones usually with broadened filaments; styles long, persistent, plumose throughout and about 2 inches long in fruit.
Rocky woodlands and thickets, Hudson bay to Manitoba, south to Connecticut, Virginia and Minnesota. Flowering in May and June. One of our rarest wild flowers.
Figure XVII Purple Virgin's Bower (Atragene americana Sims)