Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick, Pinemat Manzanita, Bearberry)

Kingdom

 Plantae – Plants

Subkingdom

 Tracheobionta – Vascular plants

Superdivision

 Spermatophyta – Seed plants

Division

 Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants

Class

 Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons

Subclass

 Dilleniidae

Order

 Ericales

Family

 Ericaceae – Heath family

Genus

 Arctostaphylos Adans. – manzanita

Species

 Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. – kinnikinnick

Note: Throughout the years I've written short articles for our website's home pages (home pages are the front page of a website) about these plants. They are now included at the bottom of this page, and are illustrated by botanical drawings and paintings, some of which are from books published from 1500 - 1900.

One of the finest evergreen ground covers, Kinnikinnick has long, trailing branches, thickly clothed with dark green, leathery leaves.

In winter the leaves often become a regal burgundy color.

The white – pink, urn-shaped flowers are followed by vibrant red berries which birds love.

This fast-growing plant is found in USDA zones 5-10, from Alaska to New Mexico and east to Virginia in dry, sunny and often sterile locations.

Native groups smoked Kinnikinnick and the berries are still used medicinally to treat bladder and kidney disorders. Truly, the leaves of Bearberry plant still fill many a pipe today.

Gardeners love Kinnikinnick for landscaping steep banks, rockeries and open spaces in urban settings where it anchors the soil by rooting at intervals along the prostrate stems.

Photo at right from Walter Siegmund

Just one of the many northwest native plants listed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, this one collected at Fort Mandan, McLean County in North Dakota. Captain Lewis noted on this specimen: "No. 33 An evergreen plant which grows in the open plains usually. the natives smoke it's leaves, mixed with tobacco. Called by the French Engages Sacacommis.-[specimen] obtained at Fort Mandan".

A gardener's delight, Kinnikinnik especially shines in dry, sunny locations.

            
    

The photo above, left, shows this hardy native used as a groundcover beneath a rhododendron. Note the few wild strawberry plants sharing this space with the Bearberry.

From Homepage February 27, 2003

Kinnikinnik, also known as Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is a favorite among all the northwest native plants for groundcover. Its evergreen, leathery leaves cover the trailing branches. Often in winter the leaves become a regal burgundy color. The white to pink, urn-shaped flowers are followed by vibrant red berries which birds love. It grows quickly and is found in USDA zones 5-10, from Alaska to New Mexico and east to Virginia.

Just one of the many northwest native plants listed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, this one collected at Fort Mandan, McLean County in North Dakota. Captain Lewis noted on this specimen:

"No. 33 An evergreen plant which grows in the open plains usually. the natives smoke it's leaves, mixed with tobacco Called by the French Engages Sacacommis.-[specimen] obtained at Fort Mandan".

Truly, the leaves of Bearberry plant still fill many a pipe today and the berries are still used to treat bladder and kidney disorders.

A gardener's delight, Kinnikinnik especially shines in dry, sunny locations. Excellent for hard to grow areas such as steep banks where its branches root readily wherever they rest.

From Homepage October 06, 2006

One thing gardeners are constantly searching for is a good groundcover. Kinnikinnik is without a doubt the best northwest native groundcover you will ever find. Here's what it will do for your landscape:

It is evergreen, it is completely well-behaved--never invades other plants' territory, never needs pruning, never sheds leaves or bark or anything else. It is drought resistant once established. It reproduces itself by rooting at intervals wherever it touches the ground. It is so adaptable it grows heartily from Alaska to New Mexico and east to Virginia in dry, sunny and often sterile grounds. It is economical! Once established, it grows quickly and reliably.

And it blooms! Little bells of white or pink flowers cover the plant adding a delightful tender look to embellish the small evergreen leaves.

And it fruits! The bright red berries are edible for humans and the young leaves are good for tea but most enthusiastic admirers (and partakers) of the fruit are birds and other wildlife.

And very often the leaves will turn a lovely wine color in fall, giving a beautiful and rich contrast to the bright red berries.

It is even recognized by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution-- there is a chapter named for this outstanding plant, organized in 1914.

Kinnkinnik does require good drainage. It will flourish without watering but if it is required to live in compacted, heavy soils it will languish.

Photos We Share!

It is our pleasure to share the photographs in this section with you under the Creative Commons License (see link below for details). We retain ownership of the photos but you may use them freely as long as you credit our website for them.

                       

                    

Creative Commons License
These photos by http://www.nwplants.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Contact:  nwplants@gmail.com ~ Copyright 2012 © The Wild Garden: Hansen’s Northwest Native Plant Database  ~ All rights reserved