Edinburgh Philos. J. 6: 327. 1822.
Plants perennial, forming small to large clumps or mats, or diffuse, from slender rhizomes. Stems erect to straggling, branched or not, 4-angled, 3–32 cm, glabrous or softly pubescent, angles not minutely papillate-scabrid. Leaves sessile; blade green, frequently glaucous, 1–3-veined, midrib prominent, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, widest at base, 0.4–2.6(–4) cm × 1–4 mm, strongly coriaceous or not, base round, margins entire, convex, glabrous or ciliate, apex acute to acuminate, not spinescent, shiny, smooth, glabrous or sparingly villous, base usually glabrous, rarely with few cilia. Inflorescences with flowers solitary, or terminal, 3–30-flowered (rarely more) cymes; bracts lanceolate, 2–10 mm, herbaceous with scarious margins, or scarious throughout, glabrous or ciliate. Pedicels ascending to erect, straight, 5–30 mm, glabrous or softly pubescent. Flowers 5–10 mm diam.; sepals 5, 3-veined, midrib prominent, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 3.5–5 mm, margins convex, narrow, scarious, sometimes ciliate, apex acute, glabrous or pubescent; petals 5, 3–8 mm, 1–1.5 times as long as sepals; stamens 5–10; styles 3(–6), ascending, curled at tip, ca. 1.5 mm. Capsules blackish purple or straw colored, ovoid to ovoid-lanceoloid, 4–6 mm, 1.5–2 times as long as sepals, apex broadly acute, opening by 6 valves; carpophore absent. Seeds brown, reniform to globose, 0.6–0.9 mm diam., shallowly tuberculate to smooth. 2n = 52–104, (107).
Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., N.W.T., Nunavut, Ont., Que., Sask., Yukon, Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mich., Minn., Mont., N.Dak., N.Mex., N.Y., Oreg., S.Dak., Utah, Wash., Wyo., Circumpolar.
Subspecies 2 (2 in the flora).