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    Vascular Plants of California
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Cassiope mertensiana

Higher Taxonomy
Family: EricaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree. Stem: bark often peeling distinctively. Leaf: simple or 0, generally cauline, alternate, opposite (whorled), evergreen or deciduous, often leathery, petioled or not; stipules 0. Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, cyme, or flowers 1, terminal or axillary, generally bracted; pedicel often with 2 bractlets. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial, bell-shaped, cylindric, or urn-shaped; sepals generally (0)4--5, generally free; petals generally (0)4--5, free or fused; stamens (2--5)8--10, free, filaments rarely appendaged, anthers dehiscing by pores or slits, awns 0 or 2(4), seemingly abaxial, reduced or elongate, generally curved; nectary generally present at ovary base, generally 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. Seed: generally many, winged or not.
Genera In Family: +- 100 genera, 3000 species: generally worldwide except deserts; some cultivated, especially Arbutus, Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium. Note: Monophyletic only if Empetraceae included, as treated here. Ledum included in Rhododendron. Non-green plants obtain nutrition from green plants through fungal intermediates.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary D. Wallace, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Gary D. Wallace, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CassiopeView Description 

Habit: Shrub, small, glabrous to hairy. Stem: decumbent or prostrate, often rooting. Leaf: opposite, appressed, evergreen, leathery or thin. Inflorescence: flowers 1 in upper leaf axils; bracts 0; pedicel jointed to flower, bractlets 4--6. Flower: sepals 4--5, free; petals 4--5, +- 2/3 fused, generally white; stamens 10, anthers dehiscing by gaping pores, awns elongate; ovary superior, chambers 5, placentas near top. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal. Seed: several per chamber.
Species In Genus: +- 14 species: southern and eastern Asia, North America. Etymology: (Greek: mother of Andromeda)
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary D. Wallace

Cassiope mertensiana (Bong.) G. Don
Habit: Plant low, densely branched. Stem: < 3 dm, glabrous or finely hairy. Leaf: sessile, overlapping, 2--5 mm, boat-shaped, elliptic, concave, leathery, glabrous, abaxially not grooved; margin entire, ciliate, or minutely glandular, not rolled under. Inflorescence: pedicel glabrous or hairy. Flower: corolla widely bell-shaped, white, lobes 5; filaments glabrous.
Ecology: Moist, subalpine slopes, around rocks, areas of late snow; Elevation: 1800--3505 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, CaRH, SNH; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, western Canada, Montana. Flowering Time: Jul--Aug Note: If recognized taxonomically, plants with leaf 3--5 mm, margin minutely glandular-ciliate, in southern CaRH (Lassen Peak), SNH, assignable to Cassiope mertensiana subsp. californica Piper, plants with leaf 2--3 mm, margin with white, ephemeral hairs, in KR, assignable to Cassiope mertensiana subsp. ciliolata Piper.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary D. Wallace
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botanical illustration including Cassiope mertensiana


Citation for this treatment: Gary D. Wallace 2012, Cassiope mertensiana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 18, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 18, 2018.

Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2010 Julie Kierstead Nelson
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 1991 Gary A. Monroe
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2008 Neal Kramer
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2014 California Academy of Sciences
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2012 Gary A. Monroe

More photos of Cassiope mertensiana in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cassiope mertensiana:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.