Stems: prostrate, densely leafy. Leaves: sessile, ovate, nearly orbicular, persistent, keeled, fleshy, opposite or imbricated in four rows, the margins ciliate. Flowers: solitary, nearly sessile; calyx-lobes obtuse, much shorter than the obovate purple petals.
The simple description of Silene acaulis, or Moss Campion, given on page 211, is applicable in several particulars to this Mountain Saxifrage, which is also a dwarf arctic-alpine flower and only grows at great altitudes. The chief difference between the two plants lies in the leaves, which in the Campion are extremely fine and narrow and in the Saxifrage are egg-shaped and thickish, with a strongly marked keel and hairy margins. The stems of the Saxifrage are prostrate and very leafy, and the flowers are purple and grow almost flat upon the ground.
It was John Keble who first drew our attention to the fact that they are "The loveliest flowers that closest cling to earth."
It was also evidently to some such prostrate alpine plant as the Mountain Saxifrage that he referred when he wrote: "Bloom on then in your shade, contented bloom, Sweet flowers, nor deem yourselves to all unknown. Heaven knows you, by whose gales and dews ye thrive; They know, who one day for their altered doom Shall thank you, taught by you to abase themselves and live."