Much like no. 1 [Empetrum nigrum L.]; stems villous to tomentose when young, not glandular; fr red or purple. The typical form is antarctic and mostly dioecious. N. Amer. plants are ssp. eamesii (Fernald & Wiegand) R. Good, tetraploid and with mostly perfect (or polygamous) fls. Our ssp. has two vars.: Var. eamesii (Fernald & Wiegand) Cronquist has bright red frs and short (2.5-4 mm), broad, crowded, erect or ascending lvs; it occurs from N.S. to Nf. (E. eamesii) Var. atropurpureum (Fernald & Wiegand) R. D. Good has dark red or purplish frs and longer (4-6 mm), linear, ascending or soon divergent, scarcely crowded lvs; it occurs from e. Que. to the higher mts. of Me. and N.H., Vt., and N.Y., and in ne. Minn. and on Isle Royale, Mich.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.