Pussypaws are an attractive low, mat-forming perennial with a basal rosette of leaves and several decumbent to ascending stems from 1-10 cm long. The mat of leaves may be as much as 15 cm wide. The leaves are oblanceolate to obovate-spatulate in shape with wide petioles. The leaves range from 1.5-5 cm long and have glabrous leaf surfaces. The flower stems are leafless, or they may have one or more bractlike leaves.
The flower heads are tight clusters of small flowers, and measure up to 4 cm wide. The sepals are 4-10 mm wide with white to pinkish margins. The petals are roughly the same size as the sepals and oblong in shape. They too are white to pink or red in color. The alpine and subalpine plants are generally perennials, while those of the lower elevation foothills and plains are more nearly annuals.
Pussypaws are found on open subalpine ridges, sandy to gravelly slopes, and in ponderosa pine woods.
Pussypaws may be found from southern British Columbia south along the crest of the Cascade Mts. south to Baja California and then east to the Rocky Mts. of Montana, Wyoming and Utah.