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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jim Riley     (Photo ID #52444)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Cassiope mertensiana subsp. mertensiana
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
1220 580 1860
Slope Gradient (%)
25 15 35

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

234 230 240
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 3 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Cassiope mertensiana (Bong.) G. Don