A low, clump-forming perennial with many slender, spreading stems that are sticky from glandular hairs. Flowers arise on fairly long stems (peduncles) from upper leaf axils. Calyx (the joined sepals) a 5-pointed cylindrical tube with 10 parallel nerves. Corolla (joined petals) lobes narrow, each with a single notch, brilliant red. Where the lobes open from the tube there is a small, crownlike circle of red lobes, this corona (crown) also red. Stamens protrude from the corolla. Blooms April–June. Basal leaves usually numerous at flowering. Stem leaves opposite, simple, narrow, to 4 inches long, with or without short hairs and/or stalked glands.