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A low, evergreen shrub, whose prostrate wiry stems are covered with a minute down, and form a mass of interlacing twigs. Leaves opposite, either in pairs or in clusters, 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. long, about 1⁄20 in. wide, linear, dark green, glabrous. Flowers unisexual; the males from one to four in a cluster, females solitary; both inconspicuous. Fruit globose and berry-like, 1⁄6 to 1⁄3 in. in diameter, of a pale, translucent blue.
Native of New Zealand, up to 4,000 ft. It is a fairly hardy shrub, surviving the winters at Kew, but finding more congenial conditions in milder places. I have seen it very charming in the botanic garden at Glasnevin and in other Irish gardens, where it bears fruit freely. There are two varieties in cultivation, viz.: var. brunnea Kirk, with brown shoots, shorter branches, and more widely separate leaves – this is now given specific rank as C. brunnea (Kirk) Cheesem.; and var. arenaria Kirk, with yellow, more slender branches, and more closely set leaves. The former variety is said to fruit much the more freely in Ireland, and is more ornamental. It is suitable for the rock garden.