Pacific waterleaf is a rhizomatous perennial with fleshy roots and a solitary stem that arises from 20-80 cm. The herbage is bristly-hairy. The several leaves alternate on the stem and are from 15 cm long and 10-15 cm wide. They are deeply parted with 5 to 7 leaflets, these leaflets or lobes with pointed tips and coarse teeth on the edges. The leaves also have a stiff, hairy texture to them.
The inflorescence is found at the tip of the stem in a curved, loose fiddlehead arrangement (cyme). The flowers are bell-shaped, yellow to light purple or blue with stamens longer than the petals. The corollas range from 5-7 mm wide while the calyx lobes range from 4-6 mm long.
Pacific waterleaf may be found growing in moist shady woods at low elevations.
Pacific waterleaf may be found west of the Cascades to the Pacific coast from southern British Columbia (including southern Vancouver Island) south to northern California.
1. Leaves eaten by grazing animals.
2. Local Indians ate the roots.
3. Because of its interesting leaves and pom-pom inflorescences, it is an attractive shade plant for the shady, woodland garden.