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Hog Craneberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Phonetic Spelling
ark-toh-STAF-ih-lohs YOO-va UR-see
Description

Known as common bearberry, this native evergreen is a low growing perennial shrub that can be effectively used as a ground cover.  Its natural habitat includes rocky sites, open woods, dry areas, sandy hills and mountain ranges.  Its scientific name comes from the Greek arctos meaning 'bear' and staphyle translating to 'grape'.  As the names indicate, the fruits of this plant are enjoyed by the local bear population.  The berries are also suitable for human consumption, however, they are seldom eaten due to their lack of flavorful taste.  

The only Arctostaphylos species to grow in locations other than its native North America.  

Soil surrounding the plant should not be compacted.  Fertilization is discouraged.  

It does not like to be transplanted, so choose the correct location when planting.  Propagation is best done with stem cuttings, they can be placed in sand or propagating by layering.

It is low maintenance and prefers dry to moderate moisture and is drought tolerant. It does not do well in eastern US because of wet, humid summer weather. The plant forms a low, creeping, mat-like cover to the soil and grows slowly. This plant produces drupes, a small berry-like fruit which, though technically edible by humans, are not considered to have a desirable flavor and are rather mealy. These fruits do provide an interesting visual and are produced in the summer with a green color, which matures to red in the fall. The foliage is also green, however in the winter the leaves turn a bronze color but will regain their green foliage come spring.  Other attractive features include the exfoliating bark and white flowers.

Space: 12-24 inches apart

Issues: moist to wet soil can lead to root disease

Site:  light-textured soil

Form: Prostrate low mat

Growth Rate: Slow to moderate

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious issues.

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Alaska
    Compact flat growing form with small, round, dark green leaves.
  • Anchor Bay
  • Big bear
    Large, shiny dark green leaves and large red fruits, reddish winter leaf color.
  • MIcrophylla
  • Tom's Point
Alaska, Anchor Bay, Big bear, MIcrophylla, Tom's Point
Tags:
#hummingbirds#evergreen#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#low growing#shrub#wildlife plant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#spring flowers#dwarf#year-round interest#showy stems#hedges#salt spray tolerant#mat#dappled sunlight#bronze leaves#trailing#low growing plant#red fruits#groundcover#long lifespan#green fruits#spring interest#winter hardy#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#host plant#shrub borders#native#butterflies#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Alaska
    Compact flat growing form with small, round, dark green leaves.
  • Anchor Bay
  • Big bear
    Large, shiny dark green leaves and large red fruits, reddish winter leaf color.
  • MIcrophylla
  • Tom's Point
Alaska, Anchor Bay, Big bear, MIcrophylla, Tom's Point
Tags:
#hummingbirds#evergreen#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#low growing#shrub#wildlife plant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#spring flowers#dwarf#year-round interest#showy stems#hedges#salt spray tolerant#mat#dappled sunlight#bronze leaves#trailing#low growing plant#red fruits#groundcover#long lifespan#green fruits#spring interest#winter hardy#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#host plant#shrub borders#native#butterflies#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Arctostaphylos
    Species:
    uva-ursi
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Landscape
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY
    Wildlife Value:
    Bears, birds and other wildlife will often eat the berries. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers. It is the host plant for Hoary Elfin, Brown Elfin and Freija Fritellary butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    good drought tolerance; good salt spray tolerance
    Edibility:
    The berries are edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Dense
    Prostrate
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is .2- to .5-in. and green, but it turns red in fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    This plant has small, urn-shaped, white to pinkish flowers in spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has 1-in., leathery, dark green leaves which are teardrop shape. They are yellow-green in the springtime, dark green in the summer months and may turn bronze or reddish-purple in the winter.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Papery, reddish, exfoliating bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Showy red stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Riparian
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Salt