A low, deciduous or partially evergreen shrub of thin, spreading or procumbent habit, growing 1 to 3 ft high; its young branches long and slender, glabrous, angled. Leaves alternate or opposite, or in a terminal whorl, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. long, 1⁄12 to 3⁄16 in. wide, tapered at the base, linear to narrow-oblong, blunt or pointed at the apex, the margins obscurely toothed or entire, glabrous; stalk 1⁄2 in. long. Flowers inconspicuous, brown-purple, 1⁄6 in. across, four-parted, one to three on a very slender stalk 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long. Fruits four-lobed, pink with the outer coat (aril) of the seed orange-coloured; they are about 1⁄2 in. long, scarcely as wide. Bot. Mag., t. 9308.
Native of the Caucasus, eastward to China; introduced in 1830. This species, so distinct from all others in cultivation in its narrow, rosemary-like, often alternate leaves, is an interesting shrub but of no great merit in most districts as it does not bear its fruit regularly or freely.
var. turkestanicus (Dieck) Krishtofovich E. nanus var. koopmannii Koehne – Of sturdier, more erect growth and broader leaves not decurved at the margin. Found by Koopmann on the Thian-Shan and Altai mountains.