E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Cassiope mertensiana subsp. mertensiana
white mountain-heather
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #52444)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Cassiope mertensiana subsp. mertensiana
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Species Information

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Dwarf shrub, mat-forming; stems stiff, ascending, 5-30 cm tall, nearly completely concealed by the leaves, about 4 mm wide including appressed leaves, glabrous or finely hairy.
Evergreen, opposite, distinctly in 4 rows, appressed, egg- to lance-shaped, 2-5 mm long, rounded on the back, grooved only at the extreme base, glabrous or fringed with minutely glandular tiny hairs or longer chaff-like, early deciduous, white hairs; unstalked.
Solitary in leaf axils, usually several near the branch tips, nodding on glabrous or short-hairy stalks 5-30 mm long; corollas white, bell-shaped, 6-8 mm long, the lobes egg-shaped and about 1/3 the length of the tube; calyces reddish, egg-shaped, 2.5-3 mm long, entire to irregular-toothed; stamens not enlarged at the base.
Capsules, nearly globe-shaped, about 4 mm wide.
BC material is var. mertensiana, although some is transitional to the more southern var. gracilis (Piper) C.L. Hitchc.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry slopes, heath, and meadows in the subalpine and alpine zones; common throughout BC, except rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands; N to AK, E to SW AB and MT, and S to CA and NV.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Cassiope mertensiana ssp. mertensiana

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 580 1220 1860
Slope Gradient (%) 15 25 35
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
230 234 240
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 4 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(1), ESSF(1)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Cassiope mertensiana (Bong.) G. Don

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References