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A deciduous shrub usually 2 to 6 ft high; young shoots with stalked glands and finely downy; afterwards with peeling bark. Leaves narrowly oval or obovate, pointed, tapered at the base, 3⁄4 to 2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. wide, bristly hairy above and on the margins, less so beneath. Flowers nodding, in clusters of two to five, each on a glandular stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Corolla cylindrical, 3⁄8 in. long, four-lobed, dullish white tinged with pink. Stamens eight, filaments glabrous or downy at the base. Capsule egg-shaped, glandular.
Native of western N. America from Alaska to N. California; in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon it has been found up to 12 ft high. This was the species discovered on the N.W. coast of America by Archibald Menzies during his voyage with Vancouver, 1790–5, and the one on which Sir James Smith founded the genus. Flowers in May but of no great worth in gardens.
M. pilosa of eastern N. America is closely allied, differing in its eglandular stems and in the more rounded, bell-shaped corolla. Also the gland-tipped hairs on the flower-stalks are short, whereas in M. ferruginea they are bristle-like and more conspicuous.