Common bearberry, Kinnikinnick

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Photo/Illustration: 
Chris Curless
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Common bearberry, Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
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Genus:  Arctostaphylos

This is a fine plant for cascading over the edge of a wall. It's a hardy, prostrate shrub with intricate branching that often forms mats up to 3 feet wide, by runners. Fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers tinged with pink are borne in May and followed later in the season by red berries. The common bearberry's stunning red stems are studded with small, glossy, evergreen leaves.

Noteworthy Characteristics: 

Found throughout North America from Labrador to Alaska, south to Virginia and California, it is called kinnikinnick by Native Americans.

Care: 

Plants should be sheltered from wind and prefer soil that is poor and acidic, never wet.

Propagation: 

Root semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Remove and pot up rooted runners.

Problems: 

Common: Exobasidium bud and leaf galls. Susceptible to various fungal diseases on leaves, stems, and fruit.

Overview

Height
Less than 6 in.
Spread
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit
Runs
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Dry to Medium
Characteristics
Fragrant Flowers,
Native,
Showy Foliage,
Showy Fruit
Bloom Time
Spring,
Summer
Flower Color
Pink,
White
Foliage Color
Evergreen
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Ground Covers
Style
Rock Garden
Seasonal Interest
Spring Interest
Type
Shrubs

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi