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Bearberry facts for kids

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Arctostaphylos-uva-ursi
Common bearberry

Bearberry is the name for three species of small woody plants in the heath family, Ericaceae. They grow well in cold places. Each species has subspecies. They can grow well in poor soil (for example soil that is mostly sand).

They have edible fruit. Their leaves are sometimes used for folk medicine. The common name comes from the fact that bears often eat them.

Species

The three species are:

  • Alpine bearberry, Arctostaphylos alpina: Grows in the Alps, and is 10-30cm high.
  • Red bearberry, Arctostaphylos rubra: Grows in the mountains in Sichuan province, China, Siberia, Alaska, and northern Canada. Leaves fall offf in autumn. Also 10-30cm high. Fruit are red.
  • Common bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi: Common in the northern Hemisphere. This is what most people refer to as 'bearberry'.


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