Stems to 20cm tall, erect, sparsely branched and bearing closely imbricated, dark green oval leaves 6mm long by 2mm broad. It is a natural characteristic of the lower leaves to turn brown but remain on the plant. Flowers creamy-white, bell-shaped, 6-8mm long, backed by green calyces, carried on 1cm long pedicels towards the tips of the shoots. Arctic and subarctic tundras where it is in active growth for only three months of the year. It enjoys cool, dry summers though it received ample moisture at the beginning of the growing season from snow and ice melt. It is difficult in cultivation and therefore extremely rare but is being successfully grown in the cool summer climate of Fort Augustus, Invernesshire. Good drainage is essential but total drying out at the root must be avoided. C.t. var. saximontana has narrower, more erect stems than the type, growing to about 30cm long, with lighter green leaves 2-5mm long by 2mm broad. Flowers numerous, borne at the tips of the shoots on very short pedicels, the cup-shaped corollas slightly smaller than the type. A plant of high alpine meadows in the northern Rockies and mountains of western North America, and much more amenable to cultivation than the type species.