Synonyms: Other names: pink mountainheath Nomenclature: empetriformis = having the form of genus Empetrum Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
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General: dwarf, evergreen shrub, 10-40 cm tall, often forming extensive mats. Branches numerous, young stems finely short-hairy and glandular, soon becoming hairless.
Leaves: alternate, evergreen, crowded in a bottlebrush-like arrangement, 8-16 mm long and 1-2 mm broad, blunt-tipped, deeply grooved beneath, looking like the edges are rolled backward lengthwise, usually hairless except for the minutely glandular-toothed edges, borne on short stalks and leaving a raised peglike leaf scar.
Flowers: deep pinkish-rose, nodding, few to several in umbel-like clusters at stem tips. Flower stalks long, short-glandular-hairy. Calyx lobed nearly to the base, the 5 lobes ovate-lanceolate, blunt-tipped, finely hairy on edges only. Corolla bell-shaped, about 7 mm long, the 5 lobes curved back. Stamens 10, included, filaments hairless, anthers reddish, opening by slits at tips. Ovary shortly yellowish glandular-hairy, the style about equaling the corolla.
Fruits: capsules, round, about 4 mm wide, opening by lengthwise slits at tip.
Moist to wet, open sites, subalpine to alpine zone, in w and s.c. parts of MT. Also from Yukon and AK s. in the Rocky Mountains to CA and ID.
The Thompson Indians used a decoction of Pink Mountain-heather taken over a period of time for tuberculosis and spitting up blood.
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