Erect shrub, 1-3 m; young branches solid, glabrous; winter buds with several outer scales. Leaves elliptic to ovate, 2-10 x 1.5-5 cm, acute or acuminate, rounded at base, glabrous or very sparsely hairy above, glabrous or villous below, shortly petiolate. Inflorescences axillary, 2-flowered; peduncles 6-14 mm, longer than petioles; bracts linear, 2-5 mm; bracteoles broad, connate c. 1 mm. Corolla 2-lipped, pink or white, 10-13 mm, glabrous or pubescent; tube much shorter than limb, ± gibbous; ovaries paired, fused. Berry black, ± globose, 5-10 mm diam., compound. Fl. 5-7. Coniferous or deciduous forest, amongst scrub, 500-2790 m.
1. Leaves glabrous or rarely slightly hairy below; bracts 3-5 mm, longer than ovary subsp. caucasica
1. Leaves ± villous below; bracts c. 2 mm, shorter than ovary subsp. orientalis