Stems smooth, usually forked, with zigzag pattern between leaf nodes. Flowers: nodding, yellow, with 3 matching sepals and 3 petals about 2 long, petals and sepals narrow, often spirally twisted, terminal. Leaves: perfoliate (completely surrounding the stem), broadly oval, hairy underneath, bright green. Fruit: a capsule.
Similar species: The bellwort just described is also called "large bellwort." Another species, small bellwort (U. sessilifolia), is scattered mostly north of the Missouri River, has hairless leaves that are sessile (not perfoliate), has smaller, paler flowers and generally only lives in low areas.