More or less erect, to about 1m. tall, usually of thinnish habit and sprawling with age. Young stems rusty-downy. Leaves narrowly oblong to linear, 1.2-5cm long with revolute margins, deep matt green above, rusty-downy beneath. Flowers 9-16mm across, in dense terminal clusters, spring to early summer. Mainly circumpolar, extending south in cool regions and mountains, in bogs, heaths and conifer forest. A variable species; some botanists include L. groenlandicum. L.p. forma (subspecies of most authors) decumbens is more or less mat-forming to about 20cm high by 1m. or more in width and has linear leaves up to 2cm long. Arctic and subarctic regions. L.p. var. diversipilosum has an erect habit with lanceolate leaves 3-5cm long which are glaucous and white papilose beneath and flowers 8-10mm across. The stems are rusty tomentose as in L. palustre itself. Siberia to Japan, Sakhalin, Kuriles and Korea, on boggy slopes and high moors.