Densely much branched from the base. Leaves: strongly revolute, thickened and rough margins. Flowers: umbellate, subtended by folia-ceous and rigid bracts; corolla deep rose colour, campanulate, five-lobed.
The Mountain Heathers - there are no true Heathers indigenous to this continent - are low branching shrubs. Bryanthus empetriformis grows abundantly in the mountains, and at very high altitudes. It is a wonderful sight to see acre upon acre covered with its beautiful bells, until the slopes of the hills and the alpine meadows seem to be literally clothed with a glorious robe of rose-red Heather, whose border is embroidered with the White Mountain Heather and White Heath, the blue Speedwell and the yellow Arnica.
Red Mountain Heather (Bryanthus empetriformis)
Many a traveller knows how true are the lines: "When summer comes, the heather bell Shall tempt thy feet to rove "; and many a man has echoed in his heart: "Here's to the heath, the hill, and the heather, The bonnet, the plaidie, the kilt, and the feather; Here's to the heroes that Scotland can boast, May their names never die - that's a Highlandman's toast!"
Truly a love for the Heath and the Heather is common to all nations, and is the especial trait of all mountain climbers.
Bryanthus intermedins, or Pink Mountain Heather, is a much rarer plant and is found in comparatively few localities. I first reported it from the Selkirk Mountains in 1901, though it had previously been reported from the Rockies by Macoun, Drummond, and Dawson.
It is easily known to travellers by means of its lovely pale pink bells. The foliage is precisely similar to that of B. empetriformis, but the flower differs in a few very minor particulars. This plant is probably a hybrid.