Botanical Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Massachusetts'
Common Name: Common Bearberry  
Plant photo of: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Massachusetts'
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Water Saving Tip:

Check the soil's moisture level before watering.

You can reduce your water use 20-50% by regularly checking the soil before watering.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Broadleaf Evergreen, Shrub, Ground cover


Height Range

Under 1'


Flower Color

Pink, White


Flower Season



Leaf Color

Dark Green


Bark Color

Grey, Red


Fruit Color



Fruit Season

Summer, Fall


Half, Shade





Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Acid, Neutral


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Mediterranean, Ranch, Seascape, Woodland


Accenting Features

Showy Flowers


Seasonal Interest

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall


Location Uses

Shrub Border, Foundation, With Rocks


Special Uses

Erosion Control, Filler, Mass Planting, Naturalizing


Attracts Wildlife

Birds, Wildlife

Information by: Stephanie Duer
  • Description

  • Notes

This winter hardy, prostrate, slow-growing, evergreen shrub or ground cover will typically grow to 6 to 12" high and 3 to 6' wide. In the proper environment, bearberry can spread (by stem rooting) to cover a very large area of up to 15' in diameter. Reddish-gray, peeling bark and small, lustrous, dark green leaves which turn reddish brown in winter. Nodding white-tinged pink, heather-like flowers appear in April-May, followed by bright red fruits which last from August through the winter.
Grow in part to full shade, in average to poor, well-drained soils. Slow to established, and it is sensitive to being over-watered. Berries are valued by birds. Plant where it is protected from hot summer sun and drying winter winds. Does not need pruning other than to keep it within the space allotted. A popular western native, there are many cultivars that have been commercial developed, including 'Alaska,' Massachusetts,' 'Point Reyes,' and 'Woods Compact.' Berries are good for birds, but are not recommended for human consumption.