Stems: glabrous, simple. Leaves: ovate, rounded or cordate at the base, acute, repandly-denticulate. Flowers: calyx with a very short tube. Fruit: capsule obovate, two-valved, with a simple erect seed in each cell.
This Pacific Coast species of Circaea is a perennial herb, and grows from six to twelve inches high from a small tuber. It has thin, broad leaves, and the small white flowers grow in racemes without bracts. The seeds are hispid with hooked hairs.
Circaea alpina, or Small Enchanter's Nightshade, has weak, branching stems, and small white or reddish flowers growing in a slender raceme subtended by minute bracts. The leaves are heart-shaped, shining and coarsely toothed, and the bur-like fruit is covered with weak hooked hairs. The names of these plants are somewhat misleading; they neither resemble the Nightshades, nor do they suggest enchantment. Many hundred years ago Dioscorides described a plant named after Circe, the enchantress so skilled in the use of poisonous herbs, and that name was accidentally transferred to these rather insignificant little flowers which grow in the dense forests.