Stems: erect, villous with long silky hairs. Leaves: ternately divided, the lateral divisions two-parted, the middle one stalked and three-parted, the segments deeply cleft into linear acute lobes. Flowers: developed before the leaves; sepals five to seven; petals none. Fruit: achenes compressed, pointed, ending in long feathery tails.

The most remarkable feature of this large purple Anemone is that it blossoms before its foliage is developed. Frequently you will find lovely specimens of these flowers in full bloom, standing up very straight on their thick downy stalks, while the leaves, which are finely dissected, are still folded up in soft silkiness about the base of the plant. The five to seven sepals are pale purple outside, but almost white inside, and are extremely soft and silky, while below them on the stalk grows a circle of very hairy leaflets. Inside the floral cup are numerous yellow stamens clustered close together round the green carpels.

As time passes the stalks elongate, the purple flowers fall off, and the seeds are formed. Then the heads present a lovely plumose appearance, for to each seed is attached a long silky tail, the whole forming a pretty feathery tuft.