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A deciduous shrub 1 to 2 ft, or sometimes twice as much high, spreading by underground stems, the young twigs furnished with gland-tipped hairs. Leaves narrowly oval or obovate, pointed, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. long, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. wide, deep shining green, more or less glandular downy on both surfaces and at the edges, not toothed; stalk very short. Flowers produced in June on short downy racemes furnished with oval, persistent, leaflike bracts 1⁄4 in. or more long, from the axils of which the flowers spring. Corolla bell-shaped, 1⁄3 in. long and wide, pure waxy white, nodding; calyx with downy triangular lobes. Fruits globose, black, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. wide, downy; not much valued for eating. Bot. Mag., t. 1106.
Native of eastern N. America from Newfoundland to Florida, never far from the coast, and said to prefer sandy soil; introduced in 1774. It is a handsome shrub both in flower and fruit, and differs from the other deciduous species in cultivation by the large, white, open bell-shaped flowers and the downy inflorescences with persistent, leaflike bracts.