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Perennial wetland dwarf shrub, dioecious and deciduous, with branched, underground rhizomes. Prostrate stem partially underground, forming loose, flattened mats. Aerial twigs few, short (up to 5 cm above the soil surface), shining dark brown or reddish. Leaves 6–20 mm long, orbicular or broadly ovate, venation prominently reticulate on both sides. Catkins appearing with the leaves, terminal on short branches. Fruit is a reddish purple capsule, with cylindrical seeds embedded in white down.
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