Early spring flower. Often mistaken for Rue Anemone.
Each plant has single 1-inch flower on a hairy stalk above a whorl of leaves at the end of the stem. Flowers have 4 to 9 petal-like sepals, usually 5, with numerous white-tipped stamens surrounding a green center. Flower color is usually white, occasionally pink.
Leaves are compound in groups of 3, though the lateral leaflets may be cleft so it appears to be 4 or 5 leaflets. A single whorl of 3 stalked leaves sits at the top of the stem with the flower stalk arising from the center. Leaflets are up to 1½ inches long, notched, lobed or deeply divided in 2 or 3 parts, coarsely toothed at the tip end, wedge-shaped at the base, and very short-stalked or stalkless. Leaf color ranges from bright green to purplish green to dark purple. A single basal leaf similar to the stem leaves, but nearly round in outline, may also be present. Leaves and stems are covered in fine hairs. It tends to grow in thick mats, spreading through rhizomes.
More robust with larger, showier leaves than Rue Anemone. Leaflets are coarsely serrated along the margins and their lobes taper to sharp points while Rue Anemone has waxier, smaller leaves with rounded-lobed edges similar to a Meadow Rue.