Comptonia peregrina, Sweetfern

Size: shrub, groundcover, 2-4' average height at maturity, with a suckering spread that can be twice its height

Buds: minute, globular, solitary, sessile, red-brown, 2-4 exposed hairy scales (buds appear woolly)

Leaves: deciduous, alternate, 2-4.25" long, .33-.625" wide, simple, linear, fern-like, roundish-ovate lobes, pale green at first, turning dark green in summer, often green-brown in fall, tan to brown in winter

Twigs: younger stems green or yellow-red-brown, covered with resinous dots, aromatic when broken

Flowers: usually monoecious, yellow-green to pale brown in spring be3fore leaves, males cylindric 1" upright catkins crowded at twig ends, females globose-ovoid solitary catkins

Fruit: olive-brown, .2" long, borne in burr-like cluster of bracts in late summer to fall

Bark: older stems yellow-brown, shiny and somewhat hairy, oldest stems red-purple or coppery brown