PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Also known as Bearberry (yes, bears snack on them), this is one of the go-to plants when someone is thinking of doing more native planting in their landscape. Kinnickinnick is native throughout northern and western North America. It forms thick webbed mats 6-10 inches high spreading a few feet. Small, dark, glossy evergreen leaves look great all year and might take on a hint of reddish bronze in the colder months. It does best in sun or part sun with bright ambient light. It is not happy in shade – for shade, go with Lingonberry which looks very similar. Kinnickinnick is basically a ground cover version of Manzanita.

Clusters of tiny pinkish white bell shaped flowers appear over a long period from spring well into summer. In early autumn, these turn to bright red berries that persist through winter until the birds get them all. The blooms are an important food source for native bees & support our local ecological web.

The red berries have a long history as food for First Nations peoples. On their own, the berries are dry and bland, but they are the rare fruit harvestable in winter. They sweeten after a few good frosts but even then they are best mixed with other berries. Good for carbohydrates. The leaves have been used for a wide range of ailments – decocted, smoked, or macerated.