Douglasia gormanii is a tiny tufted alpine plant, forming cushions in scree slopes, fellfields and gravelly tundra. Douglasia gormanii has disproportionately large pink to magenta flowers. Plants grow only a few centimeters high from a branched caudex, often nestled among slide rock. Leaves are oblanceolate to linear, only 1-10 mm long, layered in small imbricate rosettes. Leaves are covered on both sides with long hairs, with branched hairs on the margins (distinguishing it from arctic D. ochotensis, which has simple hairs). The base of the rosettes can have many persistent dead leaves, and stems reach a height of 2-5 cm. The flowers are held on pedicels just above the vegetative cushion, sometimes appearing sessile. The bright pink, five-petalled flowers often dominate the diminutive plant. Beneath the petals, the calyx is fused, cup shaped, with five triangular lobes. Pedicels elongate when fruits develop, up to 3.5 cm. Fruits are a rounded dry capsule, containing 1-4 seeds. Other cushion-forming alpine plants with pink flowers include alpine azalea (Loiseleuria procumbens), whose flowers are star-shaped and leaves with revolute margins; Silene acaulis, which does not have leaves in tight rosettes; and Saxifraga oppositifolia, whose petals are separate at the base and the flowers have two fused carpels, as opposed to Douglasia's one.
Douglasia gormanii is one of the first alpine plants to flower, blooming in early to mid-May. It is perennial with semi-evergreen leaves.
This species is monoecious with bisexual flowers. The genus Douglasia is insect-pollinated. This species' fruit is a valved capsule, few seeded. Reproductive biology of this species has not been studied.
Douglasia gormanii is endemic to central Alaska and adjacent Yukon and British Columbia. In Alaska, the species is found in interior mountains and the northern slopes of the Alaska Range and Wrangell Mts. In Denali, this small alpine primrose occurs in the northeastern quadrant of the park, with populations spread along the mountains flanking Park Road corridor and outlying foothill ranges.
This is an alpine species, found at an average elevation of 1164 m in the Park. It prefers steep slopes, with sites having an average incline of 22 degrees. This species shows no preference for aspect, growing on south and north-facing slopes.