White Heather (Cassiope mertensiana)
The leaves of this low, alpine shrub are scale-like, reminiscent of evergreens such as cedars and cypresses, compared to the spruce-like needles of the pink and yellow heathers. We see this heather much less often than the pink variety, usually at fairly high elevations. This extremely-difficult-to-photograph flower is said to have been a favorite of the famous naturalist John Muir, who called it Cassiope, to distinguish it from the heather of his native Scotland, Calluna vulgaris. Almost exclusively northwestern, it also appears in northern California and the Sierras.