White Mountain Heather

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011

  • Cassiope mertensiana (Bong.) G. Don
  • Western moss heather, Western moss-heather
  • Ericaceae (Heath Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: CAME7
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

A low, matted, evergreen shrub with tough branches up to 12 in. tall. Small white bell-like flowers hang from the tips of slender stalks that grow from the axils near the ends of the branches on this matted plant. One to few bell-shaped flowers are borne near the branch tips. Because the flowers are pendent, the reddish sepals are visible.

The somewhat star-like white flowers may have inspired the genus name of this plant, for in Greek mythology Cassiopeia was set among the stars as a constellation. Firemoss Cassiope (C. tetragona), near the Canadian border, has a prominent groove on the lower side of each leaf. Starry Cassiope (C. stellariana), which grows in bogs from Mount Rainier northward, has alternate, spreading leaves.

Sourced from: http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ -- and -- Wikipedia

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