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This plant is a small much-branched shrub about 1½–3' tall. The bark of the woody branches is reddish brown to grayish brown, becoming shredded and ragged-looking with age. The alternate leaves are about ½–1" long and across; they are divided into 3-7 narrow pinnate lobes and their margins are smooth and revolute (folded downward). The lobes often appear to be palmate because they are crowded together; they are linear-oblong in shape. The upper surface of each leaf is medium to dark green and sparsely covered with fine silky hairs; the lower surface is pale green and more densely covered with fine hairs. The leaves have short petioles. The upper branches produce either individual or small clusters of yellow flowers. Each flower spans about ¾–1½" across; it has 5 yellow petals that are well-rounded, 5 yellowish green sepals, 15-20 stamens with flat golden anthers, and multiple carpels (female reproductive organs) that are crowded together in the center. The sepals are ovate in shape and sparsely covered with fine silky hairs. On a particular shrub, many flowers may bloom at once, or only a few flowers at a time. The blooming period occurs during the summer and early fall; a small colony of shrubs may remain in bloom for 2-3 months. Each flower is replaced by a capsule that contains several hairy seeds. Mature capsules become dark brown and persist into the winter. The root system consists of a woody taproot.