Root elongate, fusiform; stem solitary, 2-6 dm, with 1-4(5) lvs; lfls (3)5(7), oblong-obovate to obovate, 6-15 cm, acuminate, conspicuously serrate, on long petiolules; peduncle 1-12 cm; fls greenish-white, all or mostly perfect; styles usually 2; fr bright red, 1 cm thick; 2n=44, 48. Rich woods; Que. to Minn. and S.D., s. to Ga., La., and Okla., now rare. June, July. Some individuals in some populations have fls with only one style, locule, and seed.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Formerly frequent to common in rich woods throughout the state. From the earliest times it was dug for its large roots which were shipped mostly to China for use as a medicine. The earliest pioneers received 25 cents a pound for the dried roots. The fact that the price has steadily advanced, until it now sells for about 16 dollars a pound, has resulted nearly in its extinction.