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Dioecious shrubs, 0.25-6 m tall, not colonial; branches erect, flexible at base; twigs yellowish to red-brown, smooth or sparsely hairy.
Alternate, simple, narrowly oblong to broadly elliptic, 2.6-10 cm long, 0.8-3 cm wide, lower surface not glaucous, smooth, sparsely long soft-hairy, or short-silky, hairs white and rust-coloured, upper surface shiny to highly glossy, smooth or sparsely long soft-hairy to nearly smooth, margins entire to toothed, bases pointed to rounded, tips abruptly short-tapered; leaf stalks with or without glandular dots at the top; stipules leaflike.
Unisexual, lacking sepals and petals, borne in catkins which flower as leaves emerge or just before them, the catkins stout, unstalked or on leafy twigs; floral bracts dark, hairs wavy or curly; stamens 2; ovaries 1, smooth; styles 0.3-1 mm long.
Capsules which split open to release the seeds, each of which is surrounded by a tuft of hairs; stalks 0.5-2.5 mm long.
For a comparison with the similar S. myrtillifolia and S. pseudomyrsinites see Table 2, page 60.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia