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A prostrate or decumbent evergreen shrub to 1 ft high but 10 to 12 ft across, with long, stout, reddish-brown stems. Leaves opposite, 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. long and up to 1 in. wide, elliptic to oblong, rounded at the apex, thick and leathery in texture, dark green above, paler beneath; margins edged with numerous teeth but sometimes entire towards the base; venation pinnate. Flowers deep blue to purple, borne in umbels on a short, stout peduncle.
A coastal species with a local distribution in California. According to McMinn, it is ground-hugging in full exposure but more upright away from the Pacific winds. In sheltered places inland, plants are found which grow to 6 ft high but otherwise resemble the type; they have been distinguished as var. exaltatus J. T. Howell. Related to C. gloriosus is C. masonii, described by McMinn from plants he found growing on the Bolinas Ridge in Marin county. It has more erect and rigid stems than var. exaltatus, and smaller leaves.