Leaves rounded to ovate, thick and leathery, finely toothed, 2-6cm long by 1.5-5cm wide. Flowering stems 5-20cm high with conspicuous, brown, papery-edged bracts and sweetly scented flowers which are 8-12mm across, pure-white or rarely pinkish, with thick-textured petals and styles 5mm in length. Throughout the northern hemisphere in cool temperate regions, in woods, bogs, fens and damp sandy ground including dune slacks. P.r. var. americana is larger in all its parts with a flowering stem 30cm or more tall.