Plants 5–15 cm. Leaves: basal 0–4, blade lanceolate, 6–25 x 3–13 mm, 1-pinnatifid, margins of adjacent lobes nonoverlapping, serrate, surfaces glabrous; cauline 3–7, blade lanceolate, 10–35 x 2–6 mm, 1(or 2)-pinnatifid, margins of adjacent lobes nonoverlapping, serrate, surfaces glabrous. Racemes simple, capitate, 1–3, exceeding basal leaves, each 6–12-flowered; bracts linear to triangular, 6–9 x 1–3 mm, undivided or 1-pinnatifid, proximal margins entire, distal serrate, surfaces glabrous. Pedicels 1–2 mm. Flowers: calyx 4–5.5 mm, glabrous, lobes 2, deltate, 0.2–1 mm, apex entire, glabrous; corolla 11–17 mm, tube yellow, 6–8 mm; galea yellow, 5–9 mm, beaked, beak straight, 0.5–2 mm, margins entire medially and distally, apex extending over abaxial lip; abaxial lip yellow, 4–7 mm. 2n = 16.
Phenology: Flowering Jun–Aug.
Habitat: Arctic-alpine tundras, heathlands, subarctic, moist hummocky tundras, hummocks, open white spruce and tamarack forests.
Elevation: 50–1200 m.
Greenland, Man., Nfld. and Labr. (Labr.), N.W.T., Nunavut, Ont., Que., Yukon, Alaska, Europe, Asia.
W. J. Cody (2000) described the beak of Pedicularis lapponica as toothed, but this is a misinterpretation of its irregular fimbriate apex that sometimes appears to be toothed. Basal leaves are usually not present on herbarium material, but if present, they are often larger than the cauline leaves but otherwise similar in form.