Stems erect, scapose, or nearly scapose with very slender rhizomes, (3-)5-20(-30) cm, glabrous. Leaves all basal or single cauline leaf near base, 2-10 cm. Leaf blade 2×-pinnately compound, proximal primary divisions ternate; leaflets cuneate-obovate to orbiculate, apically 3-5-lobed, 2-10 mm, surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences racemes, usually elongate, few flowered. Flowers: pedicels recurved in fruit; sepals early deciduous, purplish tinged, ovate or elliptic, 1-2.3(-2.7) mm; stamens 8-15; filaments purple; anthers bright yellow, 1.5-3 mm; stigmas purple. Achenes 2-6, nearly sessile; body lance-obovoid, 2-3.5 mm, with thick veins. 2 n = 14, 21.
Flowering late spring-summer (Jun-Aug). Wet meadows, damp rocky ledges and slopes, and cold (often calcareous) bogs in willow-sedge, lodgepole pine, and spruce-fir; 0-3800 m; Greenland; B.C., Nfld., N.W.T., Que., Yukon; Alaska, Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nev., N.Mex., Oreg., Utah, Wyo.; n Eurasia.