A low, matted, evergreen shrub with tough branches up to 12 in. tall. Small white bell-like flowers hang from the tips of slender stalks that grow from the axils near the ends of the branches on this matted plant. One to few bell-shaped flowers are borne near the branch tips. Because the flowers are pendent, the reddish sepals are visible.
The somewhat star-like white flowers may have inspired the genus name of this plant, for in Greek mythology Cassiopeia was set among the stars as a constellation. Firemoss Cassiope (C. tetragona), near the Canadian border, has a prominent groove on the lower side of each leaf. Starry Cassiope (C. stellariana), which grows in bogs from Mount Rainier northward, has alternate, spreading leaves.
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