Plant profile – Bearberry – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Flowering trees and shrubs Family Ericaceae

Plant profile – Bearberry – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Webster listed in Flowering Trees and Shrubs

ARCTOSTAPHYLOS UVA-URSI.—Bearberry. Britain. A neat shrub of trailing habit, and with flowers resembling those of the Arbutus, but much smaller. The leaves are entire, dark green in colour, and about an inch long, and obovate or oblong in shape. Fruit globular, of a bright red, smooth and shining. This is a native shrub, being found in Scotland, northern England and Ireland.

A. ALPINA.—Black Bearberry. Scotland. This is confined to the northern Highlands of Scotland, is of smaller growth, with toothed deciduous leaves, and small drooping flowers of two or three together.

arctostaphylos-uva-ursi-2 Plant profile - Bearberry - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Photo © Carl Farmer
24 Aug 2003 Suardal, Skye

Bushy tangle of Bearberry sprawling over limestone rock


Occasional on moorland, forming shrubby mats over rocks or dry banks. Flowers c 5-8 mm long, leaves c 1-2 cm, fruit c 6-8 mm ID: Woody shrub with leathery, conspicuously veined, untoothed leaves, not having downturned edges like Cowberry. Other features: Evergreen, previous year’s leaves always present and darker than the current year’s.  Flowers 5-lobed, bell-shaped, in clusters of about 6-10, pinkish-white.  Fruit a red berry

050805-arctostaphylos-uva-ursi Plant profile - Bearberry - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Source: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Other common names

Other common names for bearberry – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi – barren myrtle, burren myrtle, bear bilberry, bear’s grape, box-leaved wintergreen, bralins, brawlins, coralberry, creashak, crowberry, dandies, fox plum, ground holly, hog cranberry, kinnikinnik, kinnikinnick, mealberry, mountain box, mountain cranberry, rapper, red bearberry, sandberry, upland cranberry, uvaursi, uva ursi.

Post Author: camden tree surgeon