A generally low, erect plant with dense racemes of bilaterally symmetrical, deep blue-violet flowers above basal leaves.
The intense blue-violet of the corolla seems to deepen in the shade, where this plant is often found. Although pretty, this species is surpassed in beauty by a close relative, Fringed Synthyris (S. schizantha), in which the edges of the corolla lobes are cut into many strips, forming a beautiful fringe; it grows only on a few moist shaded cliffs in northern Oregon and western Washington.
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