Saxifraga rivularis is native to the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere, where it has a Circumpolar distribution, occurring throughout the Arctic and into the alpine climates of mountainous temperate areas, such as the Sierra Nevada in California. It can be found in moist and wet, rocky habitat, in substrates rich in nitrogen and organic material, such as bird rocks and mossy peat flats.
Saxifraga rivularis is a small perennial herb growing not much more than 12 centimeters in maximum height. It has small, lobed leaves at the base and along the stem. The inflorescence arises on a hairy, erect peduncle bearing white-petaled flowers and reproductive bulbils.
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