Plants perennial, caulescent, glaucous, from stout taproots. Stems 1 or more, rigidly erect, 5-15 dm, 1-2.5 cm diam. at base. Leaves (10-)15-30(-45) × (3-)5-9(-16) cm; blade with 3, rarely 4 orders of leaflets and lobes; ultimate leaflets (10-)20-30(-60) × (5-)10-20(-25) mm, ultimate lobes oblong, apex acute. Inflorescences paniculate, usually at least 5 times longer than wide; bracts lanceolate to ovate, 3-5 × 1-2 mm, margins entire; bracteoles absent, rarely present. Flowers erect, with slightly pungent odor; pedicels rigid, 2-10 mm; sepals ovate to cordate or nearly round, 3-7 × 2-5 mm; petals golden yellow; outer petals (10-)12-16(-22) × 2-4 mm, reflexed portion 4-7 mm; inner petals (8-)15-17(-18) mm, blade 3-5 mm, claw 6-9 mm, confluent with and nearly as wide as blade, crest usually about 1-3 mm diam., scarcely exceeding apex; filaments of each bundle connate from base to shortly below anthers, rarely distinct from near base; nectariferous tissue borne at base of median filament, not projecting into outer petal; stigma shortly 2-horned, ca. 2 times wider than long. Capsules ovoid, attenuate at both ends or sometimes rounded at base, (5-)15-25(-32) × 5-8 mm. Seeds slightly reniform, 1.5-2.2 mm diam., densely covered with tiny protuberances, elaiosome absent. 2 n = 32. Artificially produced hybrids between Dicentra ochroleuca and D . chrysantha also had 2 n = 32. Flowering early spring-late summer. Dry gravelly hillsides, gullies, and disturbed areas, often invading after fire; 100-2200 m; Calif.; Mexico (Baja California). The seeds of Dicentra chrysantha usually do not germinate unless desiccated or seared by fire. The Kawaiisu applied dried, mashed roots of Dicentra chrysantha to the chest for heart pains (D. E. Moerman 1986).