Plants crown-forming, clumped, suckering when disturbed, rarely forming extensive colonies, 3-40 dm, not rhizomatous; twigs yellow-green or golden brown, glaucous, usually terete, sometimes somewhat angled, glabrous, sometimes hairy in lines. Leaf blades pale green or glaucous abaxially, slightly darker pale green adaxially, ovate to elliptic, rarely obovate, 25-39 × 16-20 mm, margins entire to obscurely serrate, abaxial surface glabrous, eglandular (sometimes hairy or glandular along midvein), adaxial surface usually glabrous (sometimes hairy and/or glandular). Flowers: calyx pale green or glaucous, lobes vestigial or absent, glabrous; corolla pink, bronze-pink, or greenish white, globose, sometimes urceolate, 5-7 × 4-5 mm, thin, glaucous; filaments glabrous or pilose basally. Berries blue, dull purplish black, or black, sometimes glaucous, 8-10 mm diam. Seeds ca. 1 mm. 2n = 24, 48. Flowering spring-mid summer(-late summer). Moist or mesic coniferous woods, transitional habitats adjacent to these coniferous stands, cut-over coniferous woods, verges of road cuts, margins of coniferous woods, peaty slopes; 0-2100 m; Alta., B.C., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., Que., Yukon; Alaska, Idaho, Mich., Oreg., S.Dak., Wash.; e Asia (c Japan, Kamchatka).
Bushy-branched shrub to 1.5 m, crown-forming or seldom colonial; lvs thin, deciduous, elliptic or oval, 2-5 cm, obtuse or rounded at both ends, entire or aristate-serrulate only below the middle, glabrous, paler green beneath, on petioles 1-2 mm; fls solitary in the lower axils of the season, on spreading or decurved pedicels 4-8 mm; cal-lobes very short or nearly obsolete; cor 7-10 mm; much-constricted at the throat; anthers spurred; fr purplish-black, nearly 1 cm. Moist woods; Nf. to N.S. and e. Que.; n. Mich. and adj. Ont.; Black Hills; Alas. to Ida. and Oreg. May.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.