Stems: scape glabrous. Leaves: lanceolate, entire. Flowers: segments of the corolla rich purple-pink, the undivided part yellow, with a scalloped ring of deep purple midway between the base of the segments and the stamen-tube; stamen-tube yellow; anthers purple.
From two to eight of these quaint purple-pink flowers, each one on its own individual tiny stem, grow at the ends of the stout main stalks of the plant. Several of these stalks grow up from every root. With their reflexed petals resembling those of the Cyclamen (which also belongs to the Primrose Family), and their queer little pointed noses, the Shooting Stars are rather remarkable-looking flowers. They remind one of some bright-winged butterfly poised on the apex of a scape. The leaves all grow in a cluster at the foot of the plant and are long-shaped and tapering towards the base. Very occasionally the flowers are white. The scientific name is derived from the Greek dodeka, "twelve," and theos, "god," thus signifying "twelve gods." Its application is not very clear, though Linnaeus imagined he saw in its umbels of bright crowned flowers a little congress of divinities, and hence, named it for an Olympian gathering of the gods.