is a tundra plant, growing in exposed, rocky locations above the treeline and in Arctic regions, forming compact mats of dense, prickle-like, evergreen leaves topped by numerous pretty, pink, pale purple or (rarely) white flowers, produced singly on short stalks. Old, withered leaves remain for several years.
Flowers have a slender, red-purple, barrel-shaped, ten-veined calyx (formed of fused sepals) and a tubular, lighter-colored corolla that opens to five lobes, notched at the tip, and often bent back slightly below the plane. The center of most flowers contains ten stamens and three styles, all projecting beyond the petals, though some flowers lack pistils. The plant is quite variable, in such aspects as leaf size and shape, flower size and whether or not the flowers are supported by short stalks (peduncles).