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Sub-shrubs are bushes that have a woody base and soft stems, and are normally smaller than most other shrubs. Most are considered perennials whose soft stems die back during the winter. Subshrubs have bushy shapes just like shrubs, and are generally low-growing. A Subshrub is a small low shrub such as lavender, periwinkle or thyme and often called a dwarf shrub.

A Subshrub is technically called a chamaephyte, It is a shrub that bears hibernating buds on persistent shoots near the ground, usually woody shrubs with perennating buds borne close to the ground, no more than 25 centimeters (9.8 in) above soil surface. One significance of the closeness to the ground is that the buds remain within the surface boundary layer and are thus somewhat protected from harsh winters.
Chamaephytes are especially important in stressful environments, for example in alpine, arctic or dry ecosystems, often grazed by herbivores, and on nutrient poor soils or rock.

Subshrubs can also include cushion plants. A cushion plant is a compact, low growing, mat forming woody plant.

List of example Subshrubs
  • Some Roses
  • Rock Rose, Helianthemum alpestre
  • Lavender, Lavandula
  • Periwinkle, Vinca
  • Thyme, Thymus vulgaris
  • Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Heather genus such as; Calluna and Erica



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