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A dwarf shrub to about 1 ft high, spreading by underground runners; young stems zigzagged, reddish brown, clothed with gland-tipped hairs. Leaves leathery, dark green, conspicuously net-veined, broadly ovate, 5⁄8 to 11⁄4 in. long, 3⁄8 to 3⁄4 in. wide, acute or shortly acuminate at the apex, margins slightly saw-toothed towards the apex and edged with a few gland-tipped hairs. Flowers solitary in the upper leaf-axils, borne in May on wiry, pendulous peduncles, which are furnished with numerous bracteoles and clad, like the red-tinged calyces, with gland-tipped hairs. Corollas pure white, glabrous within, 5⁄16 in. long. Filaments of stamens glabrous; anthers without awns. Fruits globular, red, about 1⁄4 in. wide, the swollen calyx hairy.
Native of Japan in coniferous forests and open places near the tree-line; introduced in 1915. Botanically, it is quite distinct from any other Asiatic gaultheria and most closely allied to G. ovatifolia and G. humifusa of western N. America. It grows well at the Sunningdale Nurseries, in light shade.