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A deciduous shrub of slender shape from 4 to 12 ft high; young shoots angular, not downy. Leaves oval, ovate, not toothed, blunt at the apex, rounded at the base, 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 5⁄8 to 11⁄4 in. wide, pale green above, rather glaucous beneath, quite glabrous; stalk 1⁄16 in. long. Flowers solitary on a glabrous drooping stalk about 1⁄4 in. long. Corolla egg-shaped, much narrowed at the mouth, 3⁄8 in. long, pinkish; calyx shallowly ten-toothed. Fruits bluish purple, 2⁄5 in. wide, acid.
A native of the northern USA and Canada from Labrador to Alaska, and of northeast Asia, including Japan. It was first collected by Archibald ‘Menzies on the northwest coast of N. America during Vancouver’s great voyage of survey in 1790-5. He found it in ‘shady Alpine woods’ and alludes to its ‘very useful fruit’. It was probably not introduced to this country until the early years of this century and does not have sufficient beauty of flower to have secured for itself a permanent place in gardens, its chief value being the occasional rich colouring of its foliage in autumn.