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Article: Kinnikinnick (Bearberry): Native to KY?

Communities > Forums > Article: Kinnikinnick (Bearberry)
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Forum: Article: Kinnikinnick (Bearberry)Replies: 12, Views: 66
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postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

April 14, 2009
1:40 PM

Post #6408106

Are you sure you and Aunt Bett didn't wander over the mountains into Virginia maybe chasing that bear back acroos the ridge? The USDA website does not have it listed in KY. If you are around the Lexington area, this nursery in Georgetown carries it along with a lot of other KY natives.
http://www.shootingstarnursery.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=506

Doug
Sharran
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

April 14, 2009
3:33 PM

Post #6408631

Could be that we did wander over into Virginia, but at one time, many years ago, I gathered its leaves. There are other plants that I have a vague memory of, and that appear on her lists, but I can't find anymore. It makes me wonder if at one time, KY had plants that it no longer has. Kinda like white half runners, they are now hard to find.

And we did have relatives in Virginia. When we took a road trip with Aunt Bett, it was embarrassing because wherever we were, Sunday clothes or not, if she saw a plant she had to have, we'd be out pickin' that plant. Even around graveyards when we visited different church on Sunday, I'd be right there with her stripping leaves, or plucking blossoms. Worse than deer in everybody's garden now.

Thanks for the link, Doug. And thanks for writing.
dparsons01
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7b)

April 14, 2009
9:28 PM

Post #6410317

Looking at the range map on the USDA site, it seems more likely it is native in KY and OH but that they don't have verified data. Either that or the plant would have to jump over states to be naive in VA and everywhere North of KY and OH.

Also if it shares characteristics with all of its Manzanita cousins, I would expect to find it growing in dryer spots rather than wetter.
Sharran
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

April 14, 2009
9:40 PM

Post #6410381

DParsons,
What you say fits with what I remember. It grew on the rocky cliff overhangs in the mountains, where it would have been dryer. I just can't remember the exact location. If I were not nearly 400 miles away right now, I would go on a search.

On the other hand, we did do some traveling in those days. I spent many weeks during the summer with my cousins who lived in Virginia. It was not very far from my home, and the climate was no different.

At any rate it is an interesting plant, and very pretty, no matter the season. I also like that it is being considered for use to prevent soil erosion.

Thanks for writing. Nice to hear from your part of our country.
dparsons01
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7b)

April 14, 2009
9:45 PM

Post #6410403

I believe Manzanita is starting to be replanted in California to control erosion. Frequently the erosion is occuring where developers removed it to put in houses.
Sharran
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

April 14, 2009
9:51 PM

Post #6410435

Good to know. I also read that it was endangered in some areas, so it's good to know that it might make a comeback as an erosion preventative.
dparsons01
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7b)

April 14, 2009
9:55 PM

Post #6410454

Its a great plant. Manzanitas take a long time to establish and live a long time. They provide food and a sanctuary for wildlife in addition to erosion control, and they do it in some very harsh environments.
Waywardowl
Flagstaff, AZ

April 20, 2009
2:31 PM

Post #6436590

A great artical, for a well deserved plant. Bearberry is a hardly little plant for the area around my home (Zone 5a), and is commonly used in Xeriscaping. It's a great way to bring pollinators into your yard as well.
Sharran
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

April 20, 2009
3:57 PM

Post #6436952

Nice to know that it has its positive uses, Waywardowl. Thank you for letting us know about them.
wachovec
Chillicothe, OH

April 21, 2009
1:51 AM

Post #6439989

I live in Southern Ohio(Chillicothe) and the Kinnikinnick Creek runns under 23 south. the old stumping grounds of Tecumseh. I wonder if it is called that due to the meaning of the name or due to the plant being all around it. i will need to ask around.
Sharran
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

April 21, 2009
2:05 AM

Post #6440090

Hi Wachovec,

I just heard from a friend in Wisconsin who told me there are many things named Kinnikinnick in her area. It would be interesting to know why, and if you find your answer, please let us know.

Can you tell I have a passion for history, particularly that of the Native Americans? We are on the path of the Trail of Tears, and though there are no Kinnickinnick names there are others in this area. Kuttawa is just a couple miles west on hwy 62. I have yet to research that one.
Geralyn_D
Woodstock, GA

May 10, 2011
9:21 AM

Post #8552164

I immediately recognised "Uva ursi" as a quite commonly used herb for urinary tract inflammation. Maybe in places it has gone the way of Ginseng, simply so valuable that some unwisely harvest it to elimination? You haven't mentioned it growing in Georgia, I have a bank that is just crying out for a couple of those bearbery plants. Here is a link to the next generation of herbalists so take comfort that all this wisdom is not going to be lost. Though they sure don't have your story telling skills Sharran.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VXiEZxIQOo&NR=1

always a pleasure to read your experiences and sad to think of children not having an Aunt Bett or a farm to experience... Geralyn_D
Sharran
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

May 10, 2011
10:08 AM

Post #8552251

Thanks for the link, Geralyn. Good to know others have such an interest and that maybe the knowledge will live on and on. (Maybe I should just put on my bonnet and make a few videos myself :-)

And thank you so much for your words.

I hope you get some plants for your bank, and when you do, I hope they grow well.
If I find any in my travels this summer, I'll remember you.

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