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Erect shrub, red-brown hairs on young growth. Leaves long, divided into 7–11 blue-green leaflets with rounded tips. Leaflets broader near tip, toothed. Inflorescence is a 2–4 in. round-topped cluster of small white flowers. Berries bright red with whitish waxy coating, hanging after leaves fall in autumn. Berries very tart, eaten mostly by migrating birds, although suitable for jelly. Var. grayi leaflets are toothed just above middle. Var. sitchensis, found in western British Columbia and Washington, has leaflets toothed 1/2–3/4 of the way around.
Grows in rocky open slopes at mid- to alpine but mostly subalpine elevations.
Spotted while hiking on the Naches Peak Loop Trail in Mt. Rainier NP, WA. Very showy berries.