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A prostrate evergreen plant 2 or 3 in. high, whose woody stems are covered with the persisting bases of fallen leaves and brown bark, which ultimately peels off. Leaves oval, oblong or ovate, usually heart-shaped at the base, blunt at the apex, with mostly four to eight large teeth or lobes along each margin, 1⁄3 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. wide, dark dull green with hairs along the midrib above, white with down beneath; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, very slender, downy. Flowers solitary on an erect downy stalk 1 to 3 in. high, lengthening at the fruiting stage; they are 1 to 13⁄4 in. wide, white; petals usually eight, oval-oblong, rounded at the end; sepals eight, linear, 3⁄8 in. long, covered with pale wool outside. The fruit is somewhat like that of a clematis, each of the numerous seed-vessels being terminated by a tail 1 in. or more long, furnished over its whole length with silky hairs.
Native of the high latitudes and altitudes of the northern hemisphere; widely spread over the mountainous parts of the British Isles. Among other places I have seen it freely scattered over the rocky hills in the neighbourhood of Arncliffe in Yorkshire, flowering there in July and August. It is of easy cultivation but appears to prefer limestone rock and is excellently adapted for the rock garden.
† cv. ‘Minor’. – Smaller in all its parts and more compact. In cultivation since the 1930s.
D. drummondii – The flowers of this species are inclined not to open fully, but a clone distributed by Jack Drake’s nursery does not have this fault.
D. 0. var. integrifolia (Vahl) Hook. f
D. 0. var. argentea Blytt
D. 0. var. vestita Beck