A perennial that grows from a short rhizome and produces a single, showy white flower atop a whorl of three leaves. Leaves are ovate in outline with pointed tips. They lack petioles (or have extremely short ones) and measure 12 to 20 cm long by 8 to 15 cm wide, with very prominently engraved venation. The leaves and the stem share a dark green color and persist into autumn. Leaves and petals both have somewhat undulate margins, the leaves often much more strongly so. Individuals grow to between about 15 and 30 cm tall. A single rootstock will often form clonal colonies, which can become very large and dense.
Favors well-drained, neutral to slightly acid soils, usually in second- or young-growth forests. In the Northern parts of its range it shows an affinity for maple or beech forests, but has also been known to spread into nearby open areas. Flowers from late April to early June.