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An erect many-stemmed shrub 5 to 15 ft high; young growths rusty-hairy, becoming glabrous and purplish, sparsely lenticellate. Leaves up to 8 in. long, including petiole; rachis sometimes crimson, obscurely grooved, usually glabrous except for hairs and glands at the base of the leaflets, which are in three to five pairs, oblong-elliptic, up to 2 in. long and 7⁄8 in. wide, abruptly acute or rounded at the apex, sharply and rather deeply toothed in the upper half or two-thirds, glabrous on both sides except for some rusty hairs on the midrib beneath. Inflorescence rounded, with up to eighty flowers, its branches rusty-hairy. Flowers white with more or less orbicular petals; receptacle glabrous or slightly downy. Fruits described as red with a glaucous bloom; they are ellipsoid to globular, about 3⁄8 in. wide.
Native of western N. America from Alaska and south Yukon east to Montana and Idaho; described from specimens collected by Mertens in south Alaska. It differs from its geographical neighbour S. scopulina in having brown rather than white hairs, and in the fewer leaflets, blunt or even almost truncate at the apex and less fully toothed. The inflorescence too is smaller and rounder. Its nearest ally appears to be the Japanese S. matsumarana.
S. sambucifolia var. grayi Wenzig
S. occidentalis S. Wats