Prenanthes trifoliolata is recognized by its relatively large, palmately 3–5-lobed leaves with angular lobes and sinuses, basally attenuate involucres, dark green and glabrous calyculi and phyllaries, and pale yellow corollas. Dwarf plants with deeply parted leaves found in alpine areas of northern New England and Canada have been recognized as P. nana or P. trifoliolata var. nana. This form is probably no more than a phenotypic adaptation to harsh environments. In at least some localities, it intergrades with more typical P. trifoliolata at lower elevations.