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Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinick, Bear Berry)
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
 

Montane to alpine. Woodlands, openings. Summer.
Vallecito Creek Trail, June 2, 2016 and Ryman Creek Trail, June 16, 2010.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi spreads from prostrate stolon-like woody branches into mats several meters square. Stems rise 6-12 centimeters with leaves dark green above, lighter green below.  Pink-to-white urn-shaped flowers give way to bright red berries.

Although this is a fairly common plant through the Rockies and across the northern tier of states, I don't find it often in the Four Corners region.

In 1753 Linnaeus named this plant Arbutus uva-ursi from collections made in Canada.  In 1825 Sprengel renamed the plant Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

"Arcto" is Greek for "bear" and "staphylos" is Greek for "a bunch of grapes". Latin gives us "Uva" for "grape" or "berry" and "ursi" for "bear". Thus we have "the bear berry, bear berry".

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinick, Bear Berry)
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
 

Montane to alpine. Woodlands, openings. Summer.
Ryman Creek Trail, June 16, 2010.

Berries are 6-11 millimeters in diameter and ripen to bright red.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

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Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Range map for Arctostaphylos uva-ursi