Herbs perennial, (5--)15--35 cm tall, not drying black. Roots ± fusiform. Stems 1 to more than 7, central erect, outer ascending, with 4 lines of hairs. Leaves usually in whorls of 4. Basal leaves numerous, persistent; petiole to ca. 3 cm, white villous; leaf blade oblong to linear-lanceolate, 2.5--3 X 1--1.2(--1.8) cm, adaxially slightly pubescent, pinnatifid to pinnatisect; segments 6--10 pairs, linear-oblong to triangular-ovate, ± incised-dentate, teeth white and callose. Stem leaves similar to basal leaves but shorter petiolate or ± sessile and leaf blade smaller. Inflorescences racemose, usually dense; bracts leaflike, much longer than flowers basally, white pubescent. Calyx usually red, ovoid, ca. 6 mm, membranous, densely villous, deeply cleft anteriorly; lobes 3--5, unequal, when 3-lobed grouped posteriorly, serrate. Corolla purple, ca. 1.3 cm; tube bent at a right angle basally; galea slightly falcate, ca. 5 mm, rounded in front; lower lip ca. as long as galea, middle lobe much smaller than lateral pair, rounded. Anterior filament pair pubescent. Capsule lanceolate, 1--1.5 cm X 4--5 mm, apiculate. Seeds ca. 1.8 mm. Fl. Jun--Aug, fr. Jul--Sep. 2n = 12 + 0--2f.
Mossy and lichenous tundra, alpine pastures, damp places; 2100--4400 m. Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, E Xizang [Japan, Russia; arctic highlands, C, N, and S Europe, NW North America]