Leaves are large, palmately lobed.
Flowers are ½” wide with five lavender petals. Stamens are long, extend outside of the flower petals. Blooms during mid-spring, in May.
Plant is a biennial, takes two years to reach maturity. During the first year, the plant consists of a basal group of green leaves. During the second year, the plant produces taller stems, more leaves, and flowers.
Flowers look similar to fernleaf phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida), but leaves are different. Leaves of appendaged waterleaf are palmately lobed (like a palm) and leaves of fernleaf phacelia are pinnately lobed (like a feather).