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A shrub from a few inches to 2 ft or so high, with creeping underground stems and erect branches; young shoots and leaves soon glabrous. Leaves obovate, oblong-elliptic or sometimes ovate, obtuse and abruptly acuminate at the apex, 3⁄8 to 11⁄2 in. long, 1⁄6 to 7⁄8 in. wide, entire and more or less decurved at the margin, dark dull green above, blue-green or purplish and prominently veined beneath. Catkins appearing in April or May. Male catkins 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, narrowly cylindrical, rather sparsely flowered, on leafy peduncles about 3⁄8 in. long; anthers at first reddish, yellow when mature. Female catkins lax, on leafy peduncles about 1 in. long. Ovary glabrous, long-stalked; style very short, with short, purplish stigmas.
Native of N. Eurasia from E. Scandinavia to the Pacific; also of central Europe, where it occurs here and there on heaths and in bogs, nowhere common. The true species is rare in gardens.
S. × finnmarchica Willd. S. myrtilloides × S. repens – A wide-spreading, vigorous shrub with short erect branchlets. The influence of S. repens shows in such characters as the longer duration of the silky hairs on the stems and leaves and the more hairy catkin-scales. One garden clone, originally distributed as S. myrtilloides, obviously belongs here and has been re-named accordingly. The branchlets are short, with oval leaves 3⁄8 to 3⁄4 in. long, medium green above, paler and silky beneath. There is, however, another clone in commerce as S. myrtilloides which is certainly near to that species, but possibly a form of S. × finnmarchica. The branchlets are taller than in the other clone, the leaves bluish and at first quite densely silky beneath, with occasional glandular teeth on the margins. Both make excellent ground-covers.