Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades in northern Washington; Alaska south to Oregon, east to Montana, and south in the Rockies to New Mexico; across Canada to Newfoundland, south to Minnesota and Maine.
Habitat: Damp areas, shady woods, meadows and streambanks at mid- to high elevations in the mountains.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Perennial from a short rootstock, 1-several flowering stems 1-3 dm. tall.
Chiefly basal, long-petiolate, the blade narrowly oblong to oblong-lanceolate; stipules strongly sheathing, brown, 2-5 mm. long, oblique at the tip, not lacerate; stem leaves 2-4, much narrower than the basal leaves, reduced upward and becoming sessile.
Inflorescence a single, spike-like raceme 4-8 cm. long and 1 cm. broad, the lower flowers replaced by small pinkish to purplish bulblets, all flowers subtended by small bracts; normal flowers usually functionally imperfect on pedicles 2-4 mm. long, the white perianth 3-3.5 mm. long; stamens 8 when developed, the filaments as long to twice as long as the perianth; in the pistillate flowers the stamens rudimentary.
Achene with three sharp angles, dark brown, smooth, 2-3 mm. long, but usually not developing.
Separate from the similar P. bistortoides by the narrower inflorescence with bulblets replacing flowers on the lower portion.