Plants biennial, sometimes behaving as winter annual, solitary or tufted, not stoloniferous, with caudex. Leaves basal and cauline, (basal persistent, compact); petiole absent (cuneate base ± petiolelike); blade oblanceolate to obovate, (2-)3(-5)-toothed or shallowly lobed apically, rarely unlobed (distal often so), (lobes forwardly directed), (2-)4-15 mm, slightly fleshy, margins entire, stipitate glandular-ciliate, apex obtuse, surfaces glabrate to stipitate-glandular. Inflorescences (2-)6-15(-40)-flowered thyrses, (1-)4-25 cm, densely purple-tipped stipitate-glandular; bracts sessile. Flowers: sepals erect, (usually reddish purple), ovate or triangular to oblong, margins stipitate glandular-ciliate, surfaces stipitate-glandular; petals white, not spotted, obovate to oblanceolate, (2-)3-6 mm, equaling or longer than sepals; ovary inferior. 2n = 22. Flowering summer. Moist, often shaded cliff ledges, screes, talus slopes, gravelly stream banks, gravelly alpine meadows; 1200-4200 m; Alta., B.C., N.W.T., Yukon; Alaska, Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nev., Oreg., Utah, Wash., Wyo.; Europe. Although the North American plants of Saxifraga adscendens have been known as subsp. oregonensis, expressions of the supposed distinguishing characters appear to overlap completely with the variation found in Europe. The plants produce bulbils on caudices.