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Gary D. Wallace, except as specified

Perennial, shrub, tree
Stem: bark often peeling distinctively
Leaves simple, generally cauline, alternate, opposite, rarely whorled, evergreen or deciduous, often leathery, petioled or not; stipules 0
Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, cyme, or flowers solitary, generally bracted; pedicels often with 2 bractlets
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals generally 4–5, generally free; petals generally 4–5, free or fused; stamens 8–10, free, filaments rarely appendaged, anthers awned or not, dehiscent by pores or slits; nectary generally at ovary base, disk-like; ovary superior or inferior, chambers generally 1–5, placentas axile or parietal, ovules 1–many per chamber, style 1, stigma head- to funnel-like or lobed
Fruit: capsule, drupe, berry
Seeds generally many, sometimes winged
Genera in family: ± 100 genera, 3000 species: generally worldwide except deserts; some cultivated, especially Arbutus, Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium
Reference: [Wallace 1975 Wasmann J Biol 33:1–88; 1975 Bot Not 128:286–298]
Subfamilies Monotropoideae, Pyroloideae, Vaccinioideae sometimes treated as families. Nongreen plants obtain nutrition from green plants through fungal intermediates.



Shrub, small, glabrous to hairy
Stem decumbent or prostrate, often rooting
Leaves opposite, appressed, evergreen, leathery or thin
Inflorescence: flowers solitary in upper leaf axils; bracts 0; bractlets 4–6; pedicels jointed to flower
Flower: sepals 4–5, free; petals 4–5, ± 2/3 fused, generally white; stamens 10, anthers dehiscent by gaping pores, awns elongate; ovary superior, chambers 5, placentas near top
Fruit: capsule, loculicidal
Seeds several per chamber
Species in genus: ± 14 species: s&e Asia, North America
Etymology: (Greek: mother of Andromeda)


C. mertensiana (Bong.) Don


Plant low, densely branched
Stem < 3 dm, glabrous or finely hairy
Leaf ± peltate, 2–5 mm, boat-shaped, elliptic, concave, leathery, glabrous; lower surface not grooved; margin entire, ciliate or minutely glandular, not rolled under
Inflorescence: pedicels glabrous or hairy
Flower: corolla widely bell-shaped, white, lobes 5; filaments glabrous
Ecology: Moist, subalpine slopes, around rocks and areas of late snow
Elevation: 1800–3505 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, w Canada, Montana
Plants have been assigned to subsp. californica Piper [leaf 3–5 mm, margin minutely glandular-ciliate; s CaRH (Lassen Peak), SNH] or subsp. ciliolata Piper [leaf 2–3 mm, margin with white, ephemeral hairs; KR], but study needed
Horticultural information: IRR: 1, 2 &SHD: 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17; SUN: 4, 5; DFCLT.

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