Kinnikinnick (kemús)

Kinnikinnick is a ground trailing evergreen shrub with small, shiny, spoon shaped leaves, pinkish white flowers, and bright red berries. Kinnikinnik has traditionally been used as a tobacco like substance.

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Description
Latin Name Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Type Shrub
Description Kinnikinnick is a ground trailing evergreen shrub with small, shiny, spoon shaped leaves, pinkish white flowers, and bright red berries. Kinnikinnik has traditionally been used as a tobacco like substance.
Height and Spread Up to 20 cm Can spread several meters.
Bloom Colour Small urn shaped pinkish white flowers.
Bloom Months March/April
Foliage Colour Dark green and shiny above, paler below.
Seed Months After flowers, maturing in late summer and staying on the plant into winter.
Light and Water Full sun or mostly sunny. Generally grows in dry areas.
Ethnobotany Information Most south interior indigenous groups have a long history of smoking Kinnikinnick. The leaves were also boiled to make a tea, while the berries were sometimes used in meats and in soups.
Wildlife Uses As Kinnikinnick berries stay on the plant into winter, they provide an important food source for birds, bears, and other wildlife after other food sources have been exhausted.
Garden Uses Kinnikinnick bushes are useful for landscaping, taking up a large ground area. Their shiny leaves, flowers, and bright red berries can be quite beautiful, particularly useful in drier areas.
Facts Because of Kinnikinnick’s ability to spread over a large area with a network of roots, it is useful in helping to control erosion and stabilize banks, both on wilderness hillsides as well as intentionally in landscaping and restoration work.
Propagation Techniques Kinnikinnick is easily propagated through root cuttings.