This native perennial plant is about 1½–3' tall, branching occasionally. The light green to tan stems are round and largely hairless. All of the leaves are largely hairless and strongly serrated along the margins. The flowers are a clean white color and after blooming small seeds with fluffy white tails are released to blow in the wind.
They are found in woods and brush thickets where they bloom mid to late summer or fall. This species is adaptive to different growing conditions and can be found in open shady areas with open bare ground; it can be weedy in shady landscapes and in hedgerows.
The nectar of the flowers attracts a variety of insects, including large Leaf-Cutting bees, Halictid bees, wasps, various flies (Syrphid, Tachinid, Bee flies, & others), butterflies, and moths. The bees also collect pollen. White Snakeroot contains the toxin tremetol; when the plants are consumed by cattle, the meat and milk become contaminated with the toxin. When milk or meat containing the toxin is consumed, the poison is passed onto humans, and if consumed in large enough quantities can cause tremetol poisoning in humans