A perennial herb of well-drained montane grassland and sedge-heath, of open stony ground, in corries where snow lies late, and gullies subject to flushing. From 15 m at Tressa Ness (Shetland), but generally an upland species, reaching 1305 m on Ben Macdui (S. Aberdeen).
Apart from a few pre-1930 losses, particularly in Ireland, the distribution of C. bigelowii is stable.
Circumpolar Arctic-montane element.
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