Much branched annual to 1 m, puberulent to glandular-hairy; principal lvs 3-6 cm, sessile or subsessile, pinnatifid, with 5-8 pairs of irregularly serrate or deeply cleft pinnae; pedicels upcurved, 1-2 cm at anthesis, stipitate-glandular; cal and cor stipitate-glandular or glandular-hairy, the cal-lobes spreading, foliaceous, 7-10 mm, crenate or pinnatifid to entire; cor yellow, tinged or marked with brown (the other spp. merely yellow), 2.5-4 cm; fr ellipsoid or ovoid, glandular-hairy, 10-15 mm; seeds 0.8-1 mm, wingless; 2n=28. Dry upland woods; s. Me. to e. Minn., s. to Fla. and La. Aug., Sept. (Gerardia p.; Dasistoma p.) Four vars. in our range:
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Var. ambigens - leaves and stems (distally) densely glandular-pubescent; capsules ellipsoidal, some broadly so, usually 11 mm or more. According to Pennell's monograph (1935) this is the most common variety in Indiana.
Var. intercedens - leaves and stems (distally) scattered glandular-pubescent; capsules ellipsoidal, some broadly so, usually 11 mm or more.
Var. pedicularia - leaves and stems (distally) pubescent but few if any glands; capsules narrowly ellipsoidal, ca. 9-11 mm long.