Ericaceae (Heath Family)
General - low, spreading evergreen shrub, 30-80 cm tall; spicy fragrance; many branches, with dense rusty hairs.
Leaves - alternate; oblong to narrowly oblong, 1-5 cm long, often drooping; leathery, deep green above; rusty below, with dense woolly hairs (hairs on young leaves may not be rusty); edges rolled under.
Flowers - in loose, umbrella-like clusters at branch tips; white, 5-8 mm long, with protruding stamens; stalks white, slender, with 5 separate, white petals; appearing in late May and June.
Fruit - drooping, 5-parted, dry, finely hairy capsules, 5-7 mm long; in clusters at branch tips; appearing in late July and August.
Bogs, swamps and moist woods; indicator of acidic, nutrient-poor soils; widespread across NW Ontario's boreal forest, north to Arctic coast.
The leaves were used by Native North Americans to make medicinal tea and the leaves been traditionally collected to make a brown dye.
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