Height is 15–90 cm (6–35 in). Leaves are lobed and grouped in 3s, growing from the base and off the flowering stems. Flowers are 1-2 inches long and have yellow petals with a red spur and red sepals. They appear in late spring, nodding on stems above the leaves. The round end of the spur contains nectar, which is sought by butterflies and hummingbirds.
The caterpillars of Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) feed on the leaves.