This species is efarinose, leaves with a short winged or indistinct petiole, margin denticulate to dentate, scape to 25cm with up to 20 violet flowers. Leaves are unusual in that they seem to emerge revolutely which quickly changes to appear involute as the leaf ages. This species was first collected on Cang Shan (Dali Xian). The subspecies amethystina, from Cang Shan, has flower lobes entire or slightly emarginate and with a mucro (sharp point) in the notch. Two additional subspecies are described: P. amethystina subsp. argutidens is from the northern part of the distribution, leaf margin markedly dentate, fewer flowers, flowers more flared from the base, shorter pedicels and P. amethystina subsp. brevifolia more widely distributed, taller, more flowers (3-20), flowers more tubular, longer pedicels, leaf margin finely denticulate. Both subspecies have flowers with lacerate-incised lobes. See related, P. virginis which is similar enough to be a subspecies.