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A deciduous sturdy bush of rounded habit 2 to 4 ft high; branchlets stiff, glabrous, or hairy only when young. Leaves oval, obovate or oblong, rounded at the apex, 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1 in. wide, more or less (sometimes very) hairy beneath especially on the midrib and veins; stalk hairy, 1⁄8 in. or less long. Flowers twin, produced from the leaf-axils, yellowish white. Corolla 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, funnel-shaped, hairy outside, with a sac at the base of the tube; bracts awl-shaped, ciliate. Fruits blue. Bot. Mag., t. 1965.
A widespread species inhabiting, in one or other of its numerous forms, the higher altitudes and latitudes of the three northern continents. It has little or no merit for gardens, but has some botanical interest. The single oval berry which constitutes the fruit is not, as was long supposed, the wholly united ovaries of each pair of flowers, but really a pair of free ovaries enclosed by the cupula – an upgrowth of the bractlets.
A variable shrub, the leaves and branches in some forms much more hairy or downy than in others, and the fruit sometimes roundish. They are all distinguished by the curious character mentioned, where two flowers appear to rise from one ovary.