Stems: rather stout, rigid, ascending with fastigiate branches, low-growing. Leaves: glabrous, carinate, and not furrowed on the back, imbricated in four ranks; corolla five-lobed.
The beautiful white mountain Heath grows abundantly at high altitudes and is much prized by travellers. Its branches appear four-sided by reason of the manner in which the tiny leaves grow on them, and from these branches slender stalks are sent forth bearing at their tips waxen nodding bells, each composed of a five-lobed corolla with a small green calyx.
"Meek dwellers mid yon terror-stricken cliffs, With brows so pure, and incense-breathing lips, Whence are ye? Did some white-winged messenger, On Mercy's missions, trust your timid germ. To the cold cradle of eternal snows; Or, breathing on the callous icicles, Bid them with tear-drops nurse ye?"
Cassiope tetragona, or Four-angled Heath, is a very rare plant. It has ascending branches, and the leaves which are closely appressed and channeled on the back are imbricated in four rows which makes the branches appear four-sided. The flowers greatly resemble those of the preceding species.