Rhizomatous perennial, shrubby below, climbing or scrambling to 1-3 m, moderately short-hairy to glabrous; lvs petiolate, some simple and with rather broadly ovate-subcordate blade 2.5-8 נ1.5-5 cm, others with a pair of smaller basal lobes or lfls; peduncles 1.5-4 cm, 10-25-fld, the infl 3-8 cm wide, jointed, bractless, often subdichotomously branched; cor light blue or violet, the lobes 5-9 mm (each with 2 shiny green basal spots), soon reflexed; anthers conspicuous, yellow; fr poisonous, bright red, 8-11 mm; 2n=24, 48, 72. Thickets, clearings, and open woods, often in moist soil; native of Eurasia, naturalized throughout our range.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.