General: erect, perennial herb, stems 10-30 cm tall, slender to stout, from small, scaly, bulb-like corms.
Leaves: seemingly basal, 2 and usually almost opposite, or more than 2 and alternate to semiwhorled from the part of stem that may be underground, linear to linear-oblanceolate, 3-16 cm long and 3-12 mm broad.
Flowers: usually solitary, occasionally 2, and rarely 3, nodding, rather narrowly bell-shaped, yellow, often purplish-or brownish-streaked near the base, fading to red or purple. Tepals oblong- lanceolate to oblanceolate, 12-26 mm long, 4-10 mm. broad, rounded. Stamens 2/3 as long to as long as the tepals, the anthers 3-6 mm long. Style shorter to slightly longer than the tepals, the stigma disk-shaped, scarcely lobed.
Fruits: erect capsule, cylindric-obovoid to round-obovoid, 18-30 mm long.
Grasslands and sagebrush desert to ponderosa pine or mixed coniferous forest, in w., c. and s.e. parts of MT. Also from B.C. and Alberta south e. of the Cascades, to n. CA, ID, WY, UT and NV.
The bulb of yellowbells is edible, raw or cooked. It can also be dried for later use. Since it is rich in starch, it is best used in the autumn, however, many tribes picked them in May and boiled them alone or with bitterroot. The raw bulb tastes like potatoes, when cooked it tastes like rice. It can be eaten as a vegetable or be added to soups etc. Several tribes used them for food. The green seedpods can be eaten, boiled as a wild green, but are said to be bitter.