Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Massachusetts’ – Bearberry or Kinnikinnick


Despite the name, this relative of blueberries is not likely to draw bears into your yard. While fruits are produced that bears do eat in the wild, fruit production is quite sparse in home gardens – we see only a few berries in the extensive planting of bearberry in our Catskill Mountain Top Garden, at the entrance to the nursery. Bearberry is perhaps the best native groundcover for hot, dry, well-drained spots. It’s a reasonably fast spreader, eventually forming a fairly dense mat of evergreen foliage. Little pink flowers in Spring are subtly ornamental. Also called Kinickinick, the Native American name for the plant. Bearberry is rare in the Ulster County Catskills, we know of only one occurrence – an exposed rock outcrop of Ashokan High Point. It’s much more common toward the coast or near the shores of the Hudson River in sandy soils.

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Heath Famil – Ericaceae

Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Updated 23 September 2023

Additional information

Pot size

1-Quart, 1-Gallon