A sprawling, glossy-leaved Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) plant grown in a gallon-sized pot.
A close-up of the glossy, dark green foliage of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry)

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Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, also known as bearberry or kinnikinnick, is a native, low-growing evergreen plant commonly found in dry, rocky upland forests or in dry, sandy soils near the coast. Bearberry prefers to average to dry soil moisture, and does very well in acidic and nutrient poor soils, as well as drought conditions and areas with some salt concentration. Perfect for groundcover plantings in rock and woodland gardens, kinnikinnick grows to only about 6-inches tall, but can spread up to four feet out from a central location; bearberry is also versatile in the home landscape as it thrives in full sun to deeper part shade. Although truly native to the northern US and Canada, there are pockets of native bearberry in western Maryland, and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is considered highly state rare and endangered.

Flowering in mid spring to early summer, bearberry is a member of the heath family (Ericaceae) and has similar flowers to those of blueberry plants, hanging and somewhat bell-shaped. From these flowers, the plant produces bright red, glossy berries in the last summer and autumn, and though these berries are edible to humans, they're rather tasteless, and are much more appealing to birds and small forest-floor dwelling creatures. Beyond the plants fruits, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the plant's small flowers, and the plant's leaves are favorites of the caterpillars of several butterfly species including the Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polios) which is also considered endangered and highly rare in Maryland.

Native to U.S. and Native to Maryland
Mature Plant Height: Very Short: under 12"
Evergreen
Sun (6+ hours) and Part Shade/Sun (4-6 hours of sun)
Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry and Well-drained
Soil Type: Sand and Rocky
Bloom Time: Spring and Summer
Flower Color: Pink and White
Foliage color: Green
Features: Attracts Butterflies, Attracts Hummingbirds, Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Wildlife, Host Plant for Butterflies or Moths, Berries, Fall Color, Winter Interest, and Groundcover
Tolerances: Shade Tolerant, Drought Tolerant, Dry Shade Tolerant, and Salt Tolerant
Garden Type: Pollinator Garden, Woodland Garden, and Rock Garden

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