Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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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.
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)

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 2016. Cassiope mertensiana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 02, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 02, 2016.

Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2005 Aaron Schusteff
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2010 Steve Matson
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2005 Aaron Schusteff
Cassiope mertensiana
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© 2011 Aaron E. Sims

More photos of Cassiope mertensiana in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cassiope mertensiana:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.