An evergreen, heath-like shrub 6 to 20 in. high, forming spreading tufts; young branches nearly glabrous. Leaves narrow linear, 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long, blunt, margins much curled back, often arranged in threes and very closely set, dark green. Flowers in terminal heads, the males conspicuous only for the long purplish stamens with brown anthers. Berry very small, and dark brown when ripe, containing usually three seeds.
Native of eastern N. America, usually in dry, sandy places; introduced in 1841. It is a rare shrub even in a wild state, and is found in only a comparatively few isolated places. Its most famous site is a few acres near Plymouth, Mass., where it is said to be very pretty in April, with its purple flowers. It has never become properly established in English gardens, although several times imported. It is not so robust a plant as C. album, from which it is easily distinguished by its small leaves and the almost glabrous branchlets.