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Kinnickinnick – A Hardy Little Plant

A Walk in the Woods


Randi de Santa Anna

Kinnickinnick, or bearberry, is commonly found on the forest floor and is one of the first plants to emerge from the snow.

Kinnickinnick, or bearberry, which grows throughout the forests of the West, often goes unnoticed because it is not a showy plant. But it is one of my favorites because each spring, when the arrival of warm weather seems utterly improbable, kinnickinnick's bright red berries and tiny evergreen leaves are the first to emerge from under the snow. Its resilience always reassures me the earth will come back to life.

Originally, kinnickinnick was a trading term eastern tribes gave to all plants that could be smoked. The term moved westward with the settlers and soon became the name for this litt...

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