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A deciduous shrub, 1 to 2 ft high, with very minutely downy or glabrous round branchlets. Leaves obovate, or almost round, not toothed, glabrous or finely downy beneath, dull glaucous green, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, with scarcely any stalk. Flowers produced during May singly or in pairs or threes from the uppermost joints of the previous year’s wood, each on a drooping stalk about 1⁄4 in. long. Corolla pale red or white, bell-shaped, 1⁄6 in. long, with usually four teeth. Berries black with a blue bloom, sweet.
Native of the mountain heaths and bogs of the Northern Hemisphere and common in the north of Britain. The fruit is edible, but is said to produce headache and giddiness if eaten in quantity. It furnishes a valuable food for mountain game, but is scarcely worth cultivating in gardens. From its companion deciduous species in Britain (V. myrtillus), it is easily distinguished by its round stems, entire leaves, and in the parts of the flower being mostly in fours.