Plants perennial, with globose tubers 10-20 mm diam.; periderm 1-5 mm. Stems 6-25 cm. Leaves: basal leaves 6-21, petiolate, blade elliptic or spatulate, 3-5 × 1-3 cm; cauline leaves abruptly petiolate, blade lanceolate to spatulate or ovate, 4-8 × 0.5-2.5 cm. Inflorescences 1-bracteate (rarely with 2 bracts). Flowers 8-12 mm diam.; sepals 3-5 mm; petals white, pink, or candy-striped, 6-10 mm; ovules 6. Seeds 2-4 mm, shiny and smooth; elaiosome 1-2 mm. 2n = 16, 24, 25, 26, 27, 36, 38. Flowering Mar-Jun. Wetlands and riparian hardwood forests; 0-1400 m; N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Conn., Ga., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.Y., N.C., Pa., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.
Cauline lvs, including the petiole, mostly 3-6(-11) cm, the blade usually 10-15(-30) mm wide, tending to be diamond-shaped or ovate or lance-ovate, acute at the base and clearly distinguished from the petiole; 2n=16-38, mostly 24 in our range and 16 in the s. Appalachians. A rare yellow form occurs in Md. Cool woods, sometimes with no. 2 [Claytonia virginica L.] and rarely hybridizing with it; N.S. to Minn., and s. along the mts. to N.C., Tenn., and n. Ga. Early spring, disappearing by early summer.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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