Friday, May 28, 2021


Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi L. Sprengel) is a ubiquitous procumbent evergreen shrub located throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. The fruit of bearberry is considered edible but is mealy and bland. The fruits are almost tasteless despite containing a high concentration of active ingredients in many commercial products.

Bearberry also known as Kinnikinnik or mealberry is a ground-hugging, trailing shrub to six inches in height. The drupes reach full maturity in late July-August and will remain a red color throughout the winter often into the following spring.

Bearberry is used as a urinary tract antibacterial and astringent. Bearberry is possibly effective for urinary tract inflammation.

Bearberry fruit is eaten by birds such as thrushes, wrens, grouse, robins and waxwings. Its leaves are eaten by many mammals including deer, elk, bighorn sheep and moose, and it acts as a larval food plant for some butterfly species.

The main constituents of bearberry leaves are the glycosides arbutin (5%–15%), methylarbutin (up to 4%), and small quantities of the free aglycones. Other constituents include ursolic acid, tannic acid, gallic acid, p-coumaric acid, syringic acid, galloylarbutin, gallo-tannins, and flavonoids, notably glycosides of quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin.

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