General: Perennial herb from a woody root and a branched stem-base; densely tufted, forming thick cushions to 40 cm wide; stems erect, solitary, simple, glabrous, 3-6 (rarely 15) cm tall.
Leaves: Basal and stem leaves opposite, linear to lance-linear, unstalked, 5-15 mm long, to 1.5 mm wide, glabrous to fringed at the base or stiffly short-hairy, channelled above, so dense as to obscure the stem; stipules lacking.
Flowers: Inflorescence of solitary flowers, usually unisexual (the plants either male or female); petals 5, pink to lavender (occasionally white), egg-shaped, 2-cleft, 8-12 mm long, with narrow stalklike bases about twice as long as the blades; sepals 5, green or frequently pinkish to purplish-tinged, united, forming a tube 4-9 mm long, 10-nerved, glabrous.
Fruits: Capsules subcylindric, 4-10 mm long, 6-valved; seeds light brown to yellowish, kidney-shaped, 0.8-1.2 mm long, weakly pimply.
Notes: Two varieties occur in BC:
1. Calyces 4-7 mm tall.................... var. acaulis
1. Calyces 6-11 mm tall..................... var. subacaulescens (F.N. Williams) Fern. & St. John
Mesic to dry meadows, rock outcrops and fellfields in the alpine zone; common throughout BC, except infrequent on the Queen Charlotte Islands; var. acaulis - circumpolar, N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF and S to OR, ID, MT and NH, var. subacaulescens - E to AB and S to MT, AZ, NM, NV and OR; Eurasia.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2020-10-21 4:14:45 AM
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