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A low, prostrate, evergreen shrub. Leaves closely set on the slender stems, twenty or more to the inch, each 1⁄6 to 1⁄4 in. long, 1⁄16 in. wide, linear, sparsely toothed and convex beneath. The flowers are borne on very slender, thread-like erect stalks 1 in. or more long which branch at the top into three or more parts, each part bearing a terminal flower. The flower is rosy pink about 1⁄4 in. wide, with the calyx and corolla four-lobed; stamens eight.
Native of N.E. Asia, from Japan to the Behring Straits, long known to botanists. The date of its introduction is uncertain, but it is included in Don’s Gardener’s Dictionary (1834) and in Nicholson’s Dictionary of Gardening (1885). The present stock was introduced shortly before 1940, when S. G. Fielder exhibited it at Vincent Square, but not in flower. It needs a cool position in peaty soil, but is scarcely worth cultivating except to complete a collection of dwarf ericaceous species since, at least in the form introduced, it rarely flowers.
The name B. musciformis Nakai was based on a supposed earlier name Andromeda musciformis Poiret. In fact, Poiret used for the species the Latin name Andromeda bryantha L. with the French name “Andromède musciforme”, which has no standing in botanical nomenclature.