An evergreen shrub 6 to 18 in. high, ultimately spreading in habit. Leaves oblanceolate to narrow-oblong or ovate, from 1⁄3 to 11⁄4 in. long, from 1⁄16 to 1⁄4 in. wide, toothed towards the tip. Flowers 1⁄8 in. across, reddish, produced singly, or two or three together in the leaf-axils. Fruit white, 1⁄6 in. long.
This is the western representative of the genus, being found in woods on the north-western coast of N. America, and in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains. It is much more widely spread and abundant than its eastern ally, but has no more value in the garden. If differs from P. canbyi in its freer, more robust growth, its wider, larger leaves not so much decurved at the margins, and in its shorter flower-stalks. It blossoms in April and during the two or three succeeding months.
The flowers of this species are reddish in the form usually cultivated and said to be normally maroon in the north-western part of its range, but they may be whitish or greenish in California.