The narrow, whorled leaves emerge purplish-brown but soon change to deep green and are held on erect rather robust stems. Small, white flowers speckled with purple-red hang from the leaf axils. These are followed by red berries that are set off to perfection in autumn when the leaves turn to gold. Widespread from Europe across Asia to the Himalayas.
Europe and Western Russia
Southwest Asia and Asia Minor
Margins of woods, clearings and shady rocky places, usually on acid soils.