This species has a confusing taxonomic history. G.Watt (1884) described this species as a variety of P. stuartii but included comments made by Hooker which indicated Hooker thought P. stuartii, P. purpurea and P. moorcroftiana may all be forms of P. nivalis. Pax (1889) associated this species with P. nivalis var. purpurea but being different by its long fruits and referenced the drawing of P. stuartii var. purpurea within Watt's 1884 article. Smith and Fletcher described this species as P. macrophylla var macrocarpa in 1942, but their definition was too broad necessitating the formal split by Hara.
P. megalocarpa is a small plant to 12cm with flowers of pale lilac, rose or sometimes white. It is distinguished by the very large fruit (up to 3cm long and 1cm wide) and by the black calyx, copiously farinose inside with lobes cut to nearly the base, that are oblong with a rounded apex. See also the yellow flowered species, P. poluninii.