Plants mat-forming, (stems trailing), not stoloniferous, rhizomatous. Leaves basal and cauline, (marcescent, crowded); petiole absent; blade (sometimes reddish), linear or linear-lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, unlobed, 3-15 mm, leathery, margins entire, stiffly, often hooked, white-ciliate, sometimes also glandular-ciliate, apex acute, white spinulose-mucronate (spine 1-1.5 mm), surfaces glabrous, sometimes adaxially sparsely sessile-glandular. Inflorescences 2-15-flowered cymes or thyrses, sometimes solitary flowers, 5-20 cm, sparsely short stipitate-glandular; bracts sessile. Flowers: sepals ± erect, (purplish), ovate to triangular, margins eciliate or sparsely glandular, surfaces glabrous or sparsely sessile-glandular; petals yellowish white, purple- or red- to yellow-spotted, oblong to elliptic, 3-7 mm, longer than sepals; ovary superior. The Saxifraga bronchialis complex, including S. cherlerioides, S. taylorii, S. tricuspidata, and S. vespertina, needs a thorough study. Saxifraga firma Litvinov ex Losina-Losinskaja has been cited for North America; the name belongs in synonymy of a Eurasian subspecies and appears to have been misapplied to North American specimens.