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Bearberry or Kinnikinnick

Bearberry or Kinnikinnick

Arctostaphylos uvaursi


This plant is a common evergreen shrub with reddish, scaly bark and thick, leathery leaves 4 centimeters long and 1 centimeter wide. It has white flowers and bright red fruits. (The fruits are usually somewhat dry inside.)

Habitat and Distribution

This plant is found in arctic, subarctic, and temperate regions, most often in sandy or rocky soil.

Edible Parts

Its berries are edible raw or cooked. You can make a refreshing tea from its young leaves.

Steve's notes:

The berries are edible, but not palatable. They taste like they are full of sawdust instead of juice. Still, they are a good survival food, because they often stay on the branches all year.

The leaves are used to make a tea that promotes urination and cleans out the urinary tract. Studies have shown that bearberry inhibits the growth of gam-positive bacteria. It also helps with menstrual cramps.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Bearberry or Kinnikinnick