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Cassiope mertensiana
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White Mountain Heather
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Cassiope mertensiana

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About White Mountain Heather (Cassiope mertensiana) Cassiope mertensiana is a species of flowering plant known by the common names western moss heather and white mountain heather. This heather is native to subalpine areas of western North America, from Alaska to the mountains of California. It is a small, branching shrub which forms patches along the ground and in rocky crevices. The short, erect, snakelike stems are covered in tiny leathery scalelike leaves only a few millimeters long. >From between the layers of scale leaves emerge reddish pedicels each bearing a petite, hanging, down-facing, bell-shaped flower. The leaflets are red and the contrasting flower is white.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1 ft (0.3 m)

Flower Color
White, Red

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Moist slopes, around rocks and places of late snow

Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade

Elevation ?
494' - 12913'

Annual Precip. ?
5.0" - 124.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.30" - 4.33"

Coldest Month ?
17.4° F - 48.4° F

Hottest Month ?
37.8° F - 76.3° F

Humidity ?
0.75 vpd - 30.39 vpd

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17

Landscaping Information
Common uses

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Western Moss Heather

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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