Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

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  • Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Family: Ericaceae
  • Common Names: red bearberry, kinnikinnik
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Arbutus uva-ursi
  • Codon: ARCUVA

Photo by Bernard Kovalchik. Also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteranae
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Arctostaphylos Adans.
Species: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng
  • Arctostaphylos adenotricha (Fernald & J.F. Macbr.) A. Löve & D. Löve & Kapoor
  • Uva-Ursi uva-ursi (L.) Britton



Perennial, prostrate shrub with spreading, rooting stolons, leathery evergreen leaves, urn-shaped flowers becoming red berries.[2] Stems with reddish bark, sparsely hairy.[3] Leaves oblanceolate to spatulate, alternate, shiny above. Inflorescences racemous, pendant.[4] Flowers 5-merous, white to pinkish; corolla fused, urn shaped; stamens 10, hairy basally, awned, dehiscent by terminal pore;[5] ovary superior, becoming bright red berries.[2]

Bloom Period

April - June[2]


Alaska south to California and New Mexico, east to the Atlantic Coast; also in Eurasia.[2]


Prairies and dry meadows, dry coniferous forests, coastal bluffs.[2] Medium and coarse, nitrogen poor soils.[6]


Use by many First Nations as a smoke plant, food source, diuretic, for kidney treatment and as jewelry.[7]


Native Plant Network Propagation Protocol


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, photo by Lisa Hintz

Seed sample from: 2009

Average Measurement: 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.8

Measurement Range: L: 3.75 - 4, W: 2.1 - 2.5, D: 1.5 - 2.25


Shape: Fruits segmented with seeds like an orange. Individual seeds are orange segment shaped.

Color: Seeds brown. Hilum is a small brown dot on the ridge where the two flat planes of the segment come together.

Surface: Seed mostly smooth. Rounded surface of seed is ridged. It has a slight sheen on the flat planes.

Latitudinal Cross Section: triangular ARUV lat.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical ARUV long.png

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

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  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  3. Flora of North America. Retrieved from
  4. Jepson Herbarium Online Flora. Retrieved from
  5. Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 402.
  6. Klinka et al., 1989
  7. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from