Ericaceae (Heath Family)
General - a low, evergreen, rhizomatous shrublet, usually 20 - 60 cm tall; twigs hairy or scaly, branches many, forming dense thickets.
Leaves - tough, leathery evergreen leaf, alternate; oblong, elliptic or lance-shaped, 1-4 cm long with white or brownish scales, primarily on lower surface; stalks short with minutely round-toothed or smooth edges.
Flowers - tiny white bell shaped in one-sided racemes of 1-15 or more in leafy clusters at branch tips; petals 5-7 mm long; appearing in May to early June.
Fruit - persistent, many-seeded, 5-chambered, round, capsules, 3-5 mm wide, split open along lengthwise slits.
A dominant shrub in dwarf shrub wetland communities, occurring in pure stands on floating mats and in mixed stands that are grounded. A true bog species found in practically all boreal bogs; occurs in lowland sites, treed or treeless bogs, peatlands, sedge fens and meadows, black spruce muskegs, and kettle pond edges. Generally the first shrub to enter a bog after sphagnum is established.
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