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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Kinnikinnick, Bearberry

Flowering Period: Mar, Apr March April
Flower color: pink
Full sun Mostly sunny
Dry soil


At a Glance: A mat-forming evergreen shrub producing lovely pink flowers that later turn into red berries.

Height: Can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall.
Growth Form: Shrub.
Stems: The velvety red-brownish branches are long, flexible and rooting. Pure stands of kinnikinnick can grow to be very dense.
Leaves: Leaves are alternate, oval in shape, dark green, shiny above and paler beneath with a leathery texture; size: up to 3 cm (1 in) long.
Flowers: Small pink bell-shaped flowers in few-flowered drooping terminal clusters; size: 5 mm long.
Flowering Period: March, April.
Fruits: Kinnikinnick berries are called drupes and ripen late, continuing to stay on plants into winter. Each drupe contains 1 to 5 large very hard seeds. Drup size: 7-10 mm across; color: red.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Photo © 2004, Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
NI (no indicator data)
low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
Prefers coarse, well-drained soils.
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: The berries are consumed by ruffed grouse, band-tailed pigeons, evening grosbeaks, sparrows, and other ground-feeding birds.
Insects: The flowers attract bees and brown elfin butterflies.
Mammals: The berries are browsed by bears, foxes, and coyotes. The twigs are browsed by deer.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Landscape Uses: Good groundcover for dry places, banks. The berries persist into the winter.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.