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Mathematical morphology with spatially variant structuring elements outperforms translation-invariant structuring elements in various applications and has been studied in the literature over the years. However, supporting a variable structuring element shape imposes an overwhelming computational complexity, dramatically increasing with the size of the structuring element. Limiting the supported class of structuring elements to rectangles has allowed for a fast algorithm to be developed, which is efficient in terms of number of operations per pixel, has a low memory requirement, and a low latency. These properties make this algorithm useful in both software and hardware implementations, not only for spatially variant, but also translation-invariant morphology. This paper also presents a dedicated hardware architecture intended to be used as an accelerator in embedded system applications, with corresponding implementation results when targeted for both field programmable gate arrays and application specific integrated circuits.