Perennial mostly rhizomatous herbs with erect stems and alternate, 2-4-pinnatipartite leaves. Leaflets lobed or dentate, suborbicular to ovate or obovate in outline. Flowers small, with a simple calyciform, rarely corolla-l ike perianth. Sepals 4(-5), deciduous. Stamens numerous, longer or slightly shorter than the sepals. Carpels few to numerous, sessile or stalked, with persistent stigma. Style absent or strongly reduced. Achenes unilocular, 1-seeded fusiform to ± inflated or laterally compressed.
The taxonomy of Tholictrum offers a considerable number of unsolved problems. It has not been the subject of any recent revision or monograph. Wh ile most of the species and its segregates are as puzzling here as in any other part of their large area of distribution. No subdivision beyond subspecies has been tried in the present account as no regional treatment can be satisfactory in this group.