Perennials; glabrous throughout. Rhizomes (tuberiform, fragile), moniliform, segments oblong, 3-5 mm diam., (fleshy). Stems erect, unbranched, 1-3.5 dm. Rhizomal leaves palmately compound (biternate), 7-20 cm, leaflets petiolulate; petiole 4-13 cm; lateral leaflets similar to terminal, blade sometimes smaller; terminal leaflet (petiolule 1-3(-4) cm), blade ternately or pinnately lobed, (distal segment) linear, 0.7-3.5 cm × 0.6-3 mm, base attenuate to cuneate, margins entire (apiculate). Cauline leaves (2 or) 3, palmately compound (biternate, similar to rhizomal leaves, alternate to subopposite), petiolate, leaflets petiolulate; petiole (0.5-)1-4(-5.5) cm, base not auriculate; lateral leaflets similar to terminal; terminal leaflet (petiolule (0.3-)0.7-1.5(-2.5) cm), blade (ternate, distal segment) linear, (0.4-)1.5-5(-6.5) cm × 0.7-4(-6) mm, base cuneate to attenuate, margins entire. Racemes ebracteate. Fruiting pedicels ascending to divaricate, 10-25(-35) mm. Flowers: sepals oblong, 4-6 × 1.5-2 mm, lateral pair not saccate basally; petals white to pale pink, oblanceolate, 9-15 × 2-4 mm, (not clawed, apex rounded); filaments: median pairs 6-7.5 mm, lateral pair 3-5 mm; anthers linear, 1.5-2.5 mm. Fruits linear-lanceolate, 2-3.5 cm × 1.5-2 mm; ovules 10-14 per ovary; style 4-7(-10) mm. Seeds brown, oblong, 1.5-2.5 × 1-1.5 mm. 2n = 64, 112. Flowering Mar-May. Oak-hickory woods, moist loamy areas, floodplain woods, bluffs, rocky calcareous woods, limestone slopes, along streams; 0-300 m; Ala., Ga., Ind., Ky., N.C., Ohio, Tenn.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
This species was first recognized as such by Miss Edna Banta, who found it in 1935 on a rocky, wooded slope along Big Creek a mile west of Volga, Jefferson County. It was found also in Jefferson and Clark Counties by early authors who confused it with other species of the genus. They remarked about the many forms of leaves of their specimens. Schneck, in his list of plants from the Lower Wabash Valley, also calls attention to the varied leaves.
Rhizome constricted at intervals, the segments elongate; stems 2-4 dm, glabrous; basal lvs usually present at anthesis, resembling the cauline; cauline lvs 2, opposite or nearly so, biternate into linear entire segments 2-4 mm wide, these sometimes with lateral linear lobes; sep 4-6 mm; pet 10-14 mm, anthocyanic; frs 2-4 cm; 2n=64, 112. Rich moist woods; c. O. and s. Ind. to n. Ga. and n. Ala. Mar., Apr. (Dentaria furcata; D. multifida)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.