A variable species, yellow and violet forms grow together. Distinguished by its leaves which appear together with the flowers and are oblong, rounded at the apex and irregularily, pinnatifidly incised at the margin. Basal bud scales are persistent, reddish and ovate. Scape is obsolete in P. chionota var. chionota but 2-8 pedicels may be together. Scape is 8-10cm in P. chionota var. violacea. The calyx lobes have margins which vary from entire to dentate. See related P. chionogenes and P. tsariensis.