Low, Matted, or Creeping Plants )
Heath Family (Ericaceae)
Habitat: Montane on both sides of Continental Divide
Height: Low to ground
Description: This low, trailing, woody, evergreen plant has reddish, peeling bark. The dark green, leathery leaves have smooth margins, and grow to 3 cm long. They are somewhat oval in shape, tapering to a point. The tiny bell-like flowers bloom in mid-May to early June. They are white, wider at the base, and tapering to a narrow opening rimmed with pink. They grow in bunches at the end of short branches. The flowers give way to bright red berries, approximately 9 mm in diametre.
The name kinnikinnick is a native term for the plant. It was used as a poor substitute for tobacco. The berries were often used in pemmican, a mixture of fat, berries, and dried buffalo meat. It formed a staple winter food source.
The Latin term uva-ursi translates literally to "bears grape".
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