The bearberry is an evergreen shrub that grows as a groundcover, with glossy, small leaves, white to pink flowers pollinated by bumblebees, and red berry-like drupes in the fall. The foliage will gradually change to reddish-green and purple towards fall.
An evergreen carpet is always desirable for various areas of the garden; useful as an alternative to lawns in hard to mow places. It will also trail nicely over a sunny rock wall. The red fruits are long lasting into the winter, if they are not eaten by birds and anybody else!
It has had quite a few medicinal uses over the years (the leaves), mainly as an herbal drug with antibacterial properties, and also employed by North American Natives in smoking mixes (from where the name Kinnikinnick). The fruits were eaten in various preparations, and also used dried as beads on necklaces.
Employed in herbal drugs and teas in Europe, and also listed as a medicinal crop in Canada.
Germination: many recommend for best results to scarify the seeds and allow a warm-cold (moist) stratification, 2-3 months each. Others suggest only scarification and cold-moist stratification.