Glabrous perennial herb 2-7 dm; cymes small and few-fld to large and much-branched; bracts lanceolate or subulate; cal erect and somewhat accrescent; pet 5-10 mm; coppery-yellow, persistent and inflexed around the fr; stamens mostly 50-80, somewhat connate at the base, but not fascicled; fr ovoid, 3-5 mm, unilocular; styles 3, distinct, persistent, 2-4 mm; 2n=24, 48. Wet woods, bogs, and marshes. July-Sept. Var. denticulatum, occurring chiefly on the coastal plain from N.J. to Ga. has elliptic to subrotund lvs 8-20 mm, one-third to two-thirds as wide, typically appressed and shorter than the internodes; the stem is usually simple and virgate, with a small, few-fld cyme, and the sep are oblanceolate to obovate, varying to sometimes lanceolate or ovate. Var. acutifolium (Elliott) S. F. Blake, is more inland (in our range), occurring from Md., W.Va., s. O., s. Ind., and s. Ill., s. to La. and n. Fla.; it has narrower lvs commonly 2-3(-4) cm and a fifth to a third as wide, typically ascending or spreading, and seldom shorter than the internodes; the stem is usually more branched above, with an open, many-fld cyme, and the sep are lanceolate to narrowly ovate. (H. acutifolium; H. virgatum)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.