Plants 2-7 dm, from bulbs; bulbs not clumped, tunicate, ovoid, 18-40 × 12-35 mm. Leaves: proximal blades 15-35 cm × 3-15 mm. Inflorescences paniculate, 10-80-flowered, narrow, terminal raceme pyramidal in anthesis, 2-30 × 2-4 cm, proximal branches usually less than 6 cm, 1/10-1/2 length of entire inflorescence, diverging from main axis at 10°-60° when in fruit. Flowers: perianth hypogynous, campanulate, 5-10 mm diam.; tepals persistent in fruit, cream colored, ovate, 2-5 × 1-4 mm, outer usually not clawed, apex usually acute; gland 1, obovate, distal margins evident to obscure, irregular; filaments straight, usually equaling tepals, occasionally longer, thickened proximally; pedicel ascending to perpendicular to stem in fruit, 3-25 mm, bracts green, lanceolate, 5-15 mm. Capsules 5-20 × 3-8 mm. 2n = 22.
Many misidentifications occur as a result of strictly following keys indicating that paniculatus has a paniculate inflorescence which is not always the case. Plants of this species are not necessarily paniculate throughout. Some plants are racemose above and paniculate at the base of the inflorescence or may be appear racemose throughout. The peduncles on these plants and on racemose/paniculate flowers are however relatively long in plants at full anthesis (and much longer than in venenous). Also, lower flowers on some plants are often staminate (unisexual), making the dried inflorescence potentially appear even more racemose.