This species has unusual fluffy flowers at the shoot tips, creamy white in colour and looking rather like a bottle brush in shape. Flowering begins in late May-early June and lasts for about 2-4 weeks, depending on the weather.
The small dense shrub flowers best and develops better foliage in sun, though it is also thrives in semi-shade. The broad oval leaves are shiny green, leathery and thick, rather like those of common alder (Alnus glutinosa). Autumn colour is yellow, occasionally with red tints.
Individual shrubs grow in various parts of the Arboretum at Mustila: Terassi (the Terrace), Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley) and Pähkinärinne (Hazelnut Slope). A specimen selected from those on the terrace in the 1980s and named ‘Velho’ has been awarded FinE-elite plant status and is considered hardy as far north as Finland’s zone V. The same can’t be said for all the plants offered by nurseries.