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Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Arctostaphylos
Species: A. uva-ursi
Binomial name
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
(L.) Spreng.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a species of Arctostaphylos, one of several related species referred to as bearberry. Names for this species include kinnikinnick and pinemat manzanita.



It is a small procumbent woody shrub 5-30 cm high. The leaves are evergreen, remaining green for 1–3 years before falling. The fruit is a red berry.

The leaves are shiny, small, and feel thick and stiff. They are alternately arranged on the stems. Undersides of leaves are lighter green than on the tops. New stems can be red if the plant is in full sun, but are green in shadier areas. Older growth stems are brown. In spring, they have white or pink flowers. They are a common plant on Jack pine sites.


A. uva-ursi subsp. uva-ursi fruit

The distribution is circumpolar, widespread in northern latitudes, confined to high altitudes further south. In Europe, from Iceland and North Cape, Norway south to southern Spain (Sierra Nevada), central Italy (Apennines) and northern Greece (Pindus mountains); in Asia from arctic Siberia south to Turkey, the Caucasus and the Himalaya; in North America from arctic Alaska, Canada and Greenland south to California, north coast, central High Sierra Nevada (above Convict Lake, Mono County, California), Central Coast, California, San Francisco Bay Area, to New Mexico in the Rocky Mountains; and the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast United States. In some areas the plant is endangered or has been extirpated from its native range. In other areas it is abundant.


A. uva-ursi flowers

Bearberry has historically been used for medicinal purposes. It contains the glycoside arbutin, which has antimicrobial properties and acts as a mild diuretic. It has been used for urinary tract complaints, including cystitis and urolithiasis. An infusion may be made by soaking the leaves in ethanol and then diluting with water.


There are four subspecies:

  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. uva-ursi. Common Bearberry; circumpolar arctic and subarctic, and in mountains further south.
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. adenotricha. Central high Sierra Nevada.
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. coactilis. North coastal California, central coast California, San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. cratericola (J. D. Smith) P. V. Wells. Guatemala Bearberry, endemic to Guatemala at very high altitudes (3000-4000 m).

There are also several varieties that are propagated for use as ornamentals. It is an attractive evergreen plant and it is also useful for controlling erosion.

External links


Casebeer, M. (2004). Discover California Shrubs. Sonora, California: Hooker Press. ISBN 0-9665463-1-8


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Unassigned Asterids
Ordo: Ericales
Familia: Ericaceae
Subfamilia: Arbutoideae
Genus: Arctostaphylos
Subgenus: A. subg.  Arctostaphylos
Sectio: Arctostaphylos sect. Arctostaphylos
Species: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng.


  • Syst. veg. 2:287. 1825
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1].

Vernacular names

Aragonés: Buixaruala, Buixereta
Català: Boixerola
Dansk: Hede-Melbærris
Deutsch: Bärentrauben
English: Bearberry
Español: Gayuba, Uva de oso
Français: Raisin d'ours
Lietuvių: Meškauogė
Nederlands: Berendruif
Polski: Mącznica lekarska
Русский: Медвежьи ушки, или Толокнянка обыкновенная
Suomi: Riekonmarja
Svenska: Mjölon
Türkçe: Ayı üzümü
Українська: Мучниця звичайна
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Arctostaphylos uva-ursi on Wikimedia Commons.

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