Herbs, rhizomatous, stoloniferous or not; caudex not cormlike, with persistent leaf bases. Flowering stems erect to ascending, leafy or leafless, 5-60 cm, glabrate or sparsely stipitate-glandular. Leaves in basal rosette and cauline; cauline leaves similar to basal leaves, becoming smaller and short-petiolate to sessile distally; stipules present; petiole glabrate or sparsely stipitate-glandular; blade reniform to reniform-orbiculate, 5-25-lobed, base cordate in basal leaves, cordate to truncate in cauline leaves, margins 1-2 times dentate to crenate, apex rounded, surfaces glabrate; venation palmate. Inflorescences diffuse thyrses of monochasial or dichasial, compound cymes, terminal from terminal bud in rosette, 10-70-flowered, bracteate, (stipitate-glandular, especially distally, slightly viscid with sweet, resinous odor). Flowers (lax and pendent at anthesis), (pedicellate); hypanthium adnate to ovary 1/3-1/2 proximal length, free from ovary to 1.5 mm, green; sepals 5, green; petals 5, white; nectary disc absent; stamens 5, (shorter than sepals); filaments subulate, (± as long as anthers); (anthers yellow); ovary 1/2-4/5+ inferior at anthesis, 2-locular, carpels connate proximally; placentation axile; styles 2, (erect); stigmas 2. Capsules 2-beaked. Seeds (10-100), tan or dark red-brown, linear-fusiform, (narrowly wing-margined), smooth. x = 7. Perhaps the most noteworthy features of the distribution of Sullivantia species are their disjunct distributions and the restriction of most populations to unglaciated areas near Pleistocene glacial margins (D. E. Soltis 1991).
Fls perfect, regular, partly epigynous with a prolonged, deeply cupulate hypanthium bearing the sep, pet, and stamens at its margin; pet obovate or spatulate, marcescent-persistent; stamens 5, opposite and much shorter than the sep; carpels 2, connate below to form a bilocular ovary with numerous ovules on axile placentas, tapering above into the prominent distinct stylar beaks that eventually dehisce ventrally; stigmas capitate; capsule largely contained within the persistent hypanthium; seeds narrowly winged; fibrous-rooted perennial herbs with largely basal, long-petioled, ±stipulate, reniform or reniform-orbicular, palmately veined, shallowly lobulate and toothed lvs and cymose panicles of small white fls. 3, N. Amer.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.