Stems slender, smooth or but slightly pubescent, usually unbranched, ascending or erect but not stiff, 1 to 3 feet long, from a perennial, scaly rootstock. Lower and basal leaves, 6 to 10 inches long, pinnately divided into five to seven oblong-ovate or ovate-lanceolate, pointed, toothed or incised segments, 1 to 2 inches long; upper leaves similar but smaller, shorter petioled and with fewer segments. Flowers white or violet (at high altitudes nearly purple) in simple or forked, slender-stalked cymes, the pedicels of the flowers hairy. Calyx deeply parted into five linear, hairy, spreading segments. Corolla about one-third of an inch long, bell-shaped, with five oblong, blunt lobes. Stamens five, projecting from the flower. Fruit a capsule about one-sixth of an inch in diameter.
Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum
Virginia Waterleaf - Hydrophyllum virginianum
The Appendaged Watcrleaf (Hydrophyllum appendic-ulatum Michaux) is rough-hairy all over; the flowers violet to purple and one-half to two-thirds of an inch long with short, reflexed appendages between the calyx lobes. The Broad-leaved Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum canadense Linnaeus) has leaf blades nearly orbicular, palmately five to nine-lobed and the entire plant smooth or nearly so.