The bearberry is a slow-growing perennial shrub plant, which has tapered evergreen leaves. Its small bell-shaped pink flowers bloom from early spring to June. It has round red berries that are edible but tasteless. It can easily be confused with lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).
Bearberries grow in arid, open and barren heathland and grows abundantly on gravel and in ridges. It is scattered across Europe and is also found in North America.
The latter part of its scientific name “ursi” refers to the Brown bear (Ursus arctos) whose summer and early autumn diet features bearberries. Tea made from the bearberry’s leaves and stems can be used as an herbal remedy for urinary tract disease and to relieve inflammation. Plant shoots have been used for tanning leather.
The bearberry is a common species in our forests, flourishing even on sandy land and dry rocks. As a light-favouring species, it also thrives in fell openings.
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