Plants 3-50 cm tall, glabrous or pubescent with short falcate hairs on stem and short glandular hairs in inflorescence. Rhizomes with tuberous thickening at apex. Leaves highly variably shaped from narrowly trullate or elliptic to nearly circular, 1-11 × 0.7-5.5(-8) cm, base narrowly cuneate to cordate, margin subentire to sharply serrate, apex acute to shortly acuminate. Terminal raceme 0.7-2 to 12(-17) cm. Flowering pedicels perpendicular to axis of raceme (in C. alpina subsp. caulescens and some plants of subsp. angustifolia) to ascending or erect, with or without a minute setaceous bracteole at base. Buds glabrous, rarely glabrescent; floral tube ranging from nearly absent to 0.6 mm. Sepals, spreading or slightly reflexed, white or pink, occasionally purple tinged at apex, rarely purple throughout, oblong, ovate to broadly so, or triangular-ovate, 0.8-2 × 0.6-1.3 mm, glabrous, apex rounded to obtuse or miutely mammiform. Petals white, narrowly obtriangular, obdeltoid, obovate to broadly so to depressed-obovate, 0.5-2 × 0.6-1.9 mm, apical notch essentially lacking or to 1/2 length of petal; petal lobes rounded to truncate, rarely somewhat crenulate (in C. alpina subsp. an gustifolia). Stamens erect or ascending, less commonly spreading, equaling or slightly longer than style; nectary wholly within floral tube and inconspicuous. Fruiting pedicel and mature fruit 3.5-7.8 mm. Fruit clavate or obovoid, 1.6-2.7 × 0.5-1.2 mm, tapering smoothly to pedicel, locule 1, seed 1, without ribs or sulci, but pedicel extending as a shallow groove along upper surface. 2n = 22 (unknown in C. alpina subsp. micrantha).
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