A very variable species, much confused in gardens by the presence of many hybrids. Rosettes from 8 to 18cm across with offsets on stout stolons to 4cm long. Leaves 4-9cm long, obovate to narrowly oblong ending in a short point, normally green but red and purple shades occur, usually glabrous, often white ciliate. Flowering stems 20-50cm tall, stout, very hairy, stem leaves hairy, lower ones without hairs. Inflorescences may contain up to a hundred flowers, each 2cm across with usually thirteen dull pink to purple petals. Central and Southern Europe in the mountains from the Pyrenees to the Alps. Many forms and cultivars are grown of which the most commonly seen are 'Atropurpureum' with dark violet rosettes, 'Nigrum' with bright green leaves (each tipped with red-purple) and 'Triste' which has dull, reddish-brown rosettes. 'Boissieri' has bronzy-green rosettes tipped red-brown, 'Red Flush' has perfectly symmetrical rosettes, red-flushed in spring. 'Royanum' produces large yellowish-green rosettes flushed red at the tips. 'Sunset' has leaves which take on orange to red tints in autumn.