Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Radiant Manzanita

Radiant Manzanita, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a prostrate evergreen ground cover with pink flowers and red berries. Native throughout the northern US, and both coasts. On the west coast it grows from northern California to Alaska along the coast. Radiant manzanita likes part shade inland to full sun near coast or where the days stay below 90F. Prefers sandy soils with organic matter, but will tolerate most soils as long as there is some drainage and moisture. If your rain fall is less than 35″ supplement summer water 1/week will be needed. It grows rapidly near the coast as long as it has water. Its final height is 2-5 inches tall and width is 6 feet or so. As long as it is in garden conditions near the coast or in middle elevations it is good to great. We have to water it as we would a lawn. (but we have been described as hell in summer). This Arctostaphylos uva-ursi looks clean and fresh. Use next to a cool walk or patio, over that mossy retaining wall or next to a lawn. It can also be used in place of a lawn. Uses a little less water and doesn’t have to be mowed. ‘Radient’ manzanita commonly looks better than a lawn in a west coast garden, it looks like it belongs there.
Other forms (that we do not grow), ‘Wood’s Red’ is hybrid of uva-ursi with glossy red, dark green leaves. It seems to be garden tolerant and like the interior heat as long as it has afternoon shade and reg. water. ‘Wood’s Compact’ is apparently a little more upright and spreads a little less.
Leaves used as tobacco substitute, stems used to make pipes,berry edible.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Vancouver Jade’ (Common bearberry ‘Vancouver Jade’)

Botanical name

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Vancouver Jade’

Other names

Common bearberry ‘Vancouver Jade’, Kinnikinnick ‘Vancouver Jade’

Genus

Arctostaphylos Arctostaphylos

Variety or Cultivar

‘Vancouver Jade’ _ ‘Vancouver Jade’ is a low, sometimes mat-forming evergreen shrub with dark green, glossy leaves, drooping clusters of pale pink flowers in spring and scarlet berries in autumn.

Foliage

Evergreen

Habit

Arching, Mat Forming, Trailing

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Colour

Flower

Pale-pink in Spring

Dark-green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific diseases

Leaf spot

General care

Pruning

No pruning required unless to limit spread.

Propagation methods

Layering, Seed, Semi-ripe cuttings

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Where to grow

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Vancouver Jade’ (Common bearberry ‘Vancouver Jade’) will reach a height of 0.15m and a spread of 0.45m after 10-20 years.

Suggested uses

Drought Tolerant, Ground Cover, Low Maintenance, Rock

Cultivation

Plant in moist, well-drained, moderately fertile acidic soil. Will tolerate poor soils on warm, dry sites.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5, Zone 4, Zone 3

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Vancouver Jade’ (Common bearberry ‘Vancouver Jade’)

Common pest name

Scientific pest name

Phytophthora pseudosyringae

Type

Oomycete

Current status in UK

Present (Limited)

Likelihood to spread in UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Present in UK since 1930s. Consultation in 2012 concluded statutory action was not appropriate.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Vancouver Jade’ (Common bearberry ‘Vancouver Jade’)

Broom rust of spruce; Common yellow witches’ broom rust

Chrysomyxa arctostaphyli

Fungus

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Serious risk but appears to be effectively controlled by current import prohibitions

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

Plant Database

Glase, Terry

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Kinnikinnick, Red Bearberry, Kinnikinnik

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

Red bearberry is a trailing, evergreen shrub with paddle-shaped leaves on flexible branches. The thick, leathery leaves, rolled under at the edges, are yellow-green in spring, dark-green in summer, and reddish-purple in the fall. Nodding clusters of small, bell-shaped, pink or white flowers occur on bright-red stems. Flowers in racemes on short branches. Bright-red berries succeed the flowers and persist into winter. This ground-trailing shrub has the papery, reddish, exfoliating bark typical of woody plants in northern climates. It is frequently seen as a ground cover in sandy areas such as the New Jersey pine barrens. It is very common on Cape Cod, where it covers vast areas in open, sandy, pine-studded communities. Its complete range is the largest of any in its genus, and it is the only Arctostaphylos species to occur outside of North America, ranging across northern Eurasia and across northern North America south to the mountains of Virginia, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, with isolated populations in the mountains of Guatemala in Central America. It is a hardy shrub for landscaping rocky or sandy sites

In Greek arctos is bear and staphyle grape, whereas in Latin uva is a bunch of grapes and ursus is bear. The berries are indeed eaten by bears, as the name redundantly indicates. Kinnikinnick, an Algonquin word for many tobacco substitutes, is most frequently applied to this species, which also had many medicinal uses, including the alleged control of several sexually transmitted diseases. An astringent tea can be made by steeping the dried leaves in boiling water (sometimes used as a laxative). Bearberry is long lived, but grows very slowly. It has no serious disease or insect problems. A similar species found in the Cascade Mountains and Sierra Nevada, Pinemat Manzanita (A. nevadensis), has a tiny sharp point at the tip of the leaf. One other species, Alpine Bearberry (A. alpina), is found on New England mountaintops.

From the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Obovate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Panicle , Raceme
Size Notes: Height 6-12 inches, spread up to 15 feet.
Leaf: Glossy dark green, reddish in the winter.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers urn-shaped to 1/3 inch.
Fruit: Bright red 1/4 inch across
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Flowers urn-shaped, waxy, white tinged with pink.

Distribution

USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DE , IA , ID , IL , IN , MA , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Northern, coastal, and montane Eurasia to northern, coastal, and montane North America: Lab. to AK, s. to VA, extreme n.e. IN, n. IL, CA, AZ, and NM, with isolated populations in the mountains of Guatemala
Native Habitat: Rocky, open woods; dry, sandy hills; mountainous regions

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pHCaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Soil should not be compacted around the plants and they should not be fertilized.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: The fruit is edible but mealy and tasteless; it is much favored by birds and other wildlife.
Use Food: The Okanogan-Colville cooked the berries with venison or salmon, or dried them into cakes and ate the cakes with salmon eggs. Various indigenous groups in California prepared a cider-like beverage from the berries.
Use Medicinal: The Haida used it as a diuretic for kidney diseases and urinary tract infections.
Use Other: First Nations used to smoke this before tobacco was available.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Larval Host: Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polia), Brown Elfin (C. augustinus), Freija Fritillary (Boloria freija)

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Rocky Mountain clearwing
(Hemaris senta)
Adult Food Source
Learn more at BAMONA
Hoary Elfin
(Callophrys polios)
Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Freija Fritillary
(Boloria freija)
Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Brown Elfin
(Callophrys augustinus)
Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Elf
(Microtia elva)
Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: They are very difficult to transplant from the wild, but softwood cuttings are readily rooted. The surest means of propagation is by treated cuttings rooted in sand or layering.
Seed Collection: The outer fleshy part of the fruit may be removed by macerating the fruits with water and separating the nutlets by flotation or air-screening.
Seed Treatment: Remove seed from pulp. Plant outside in fall, 3/4 deep. Seeds germinate the second year after sowing. Seeds have impermeable seed coats and dormant embryos; acid scarification for 3-6 hours followed by 2-3 months of warm and 2-3 months of cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prune to thin out dead or dying wood.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Shrubs for playground barrier hedge in Darien CT
December 07, 2009
I am working on my Eagle Scout project which is a barrier hedge in front of a playground at our town’s baseball field to protect the kids from getting hit by balls. The fence would be 4 feet tall an…
view the full question and answer

Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
May 05, 2009
We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shad…
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
July 21, 2008
I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs for Michigan
June 17, 2008
I’m seeking a small-medium, ornamental, fairly compact, evergreen shrub to complement my front yard woodland wildflower garden. I want a shrub that will flank both sides of my front porch steps. I wa…
view the full question and answer

Black leaves and dying kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
December 16, 2007
My kinnikinnick has developed dark leaf spots and, in some cases the entire leaf has turned black or entire plants have turned black and died off. I’m worried about leaf spot, root rot and leaf gall…
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region: AGCP AK AW CB EMP GP HI MW NCNE WMVE
Status: UPL UPL FACU UPL UPL UPL UPL FACU

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241).Click herefor map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden – Santa Barbara, CA
Delaware Nature Society – Hockessin, DE
United States Botanic Garden – Washington, DC
Natural Biodiversity – Johnstown, PA
Native Seed Network – Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center – Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 – Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 – Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 841 – Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 723 – Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alaska (2004) Pojar, J. & A. MacKinnon
Bibref 1218 – Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources (2006) Anderson, M. Kat
Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1987 VOL. 4, NO.2 – Wildflowers Provide Activity in Summer, Beautiful Colorado Beckons, What is Rese…
Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 – Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav…

Additional resources

USDA: Find Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-06-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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Uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms Arberry, arbusier (French), arbutin, Arbutus uva ursi, arctostaphylos, Arctostaphylos adenotricha, Arctostaphylos coactilis, Arctostaphylos coactylis, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, arctuvan, barentraube (German), bearberry, bear grape, bear’s grape, bearsgrape, beerendruif (Holland), bousserole (French), common bearberry, common beargrape, coralillo (Spanish), creeping manzanita, crowberry, Cystinol akut®, Dunih’tan (Carrier people), Ericaceae (family), foxberry, gayuba (Spanish), hog berry, hydroquinone, kanya’ni, kwica (American Indian), kinnikinnick (American Indian), macnicy (Polish), manzanita, mealberry, mehlberre (German), melbaerblad (Norweigan), melbarrisblade (Danish), methyl arbutin, mjolonrisblad (Swedish), mossberre (German), mountain box, mountain cranberry, phenolic glycoside, ptarmigan berry, raisin d’ours (French), redberry, red bearberry, rock berry, rockberry, sagsckhomi (American Indian), sand berry, sandberry, Solvefort, s’qaya’dats, tannin, toloknianka (Russian), upland cranberry, Uroflux, uva d’orso (Italian), UVA-E, Uvae ursi folium, Uvalyst, uva-ursi, uva ursi leaf, whortle berry, wilder Buchsbaum (German), Wolfstraube (German).

Mechanism of Action

Pharmacology:

  • Constituents: Uva ursi leaves contain hydroquinone derivatives, mainly arbutin4,5 and methyl arbutin in concentrations ranging from 6.30 to 9.16%, expressed on a dry weight basis, depending on when and where it is harvested6. Tannins are also present in uva ursi leaves, including ellagic and gallic acid tannins, which can be hydrolyzed.7 Flavonoids that are present include hyperoside, myricetin, quercetin, and glycosides such as hyperin, myricitrin, isoquercitrin, and quercitrin. Triterpenes, montropein, piceoside, phenol-carboxylic acids such as alpha-amyrin and ursolic acids are present and also malic acid, allantoin, resin, volatile oil and wax. Uva ursi also contains corilagin.8
  • Anti-cancer properties: A study on mice demonstrated that ursolic acid, a constituent of uva ursi, may have beneficial effects on hematopoiesis and immunocompetance. The study results suggest that ursolic acid has the ability to decrease undesirable radiation damage to the hematopoietic tissue after radiotherapy.9
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: In an animal model of contact dermatitis, arbutin synergistically enhanced the anti-inflammatory properties of prednisolone in mice, while arbutin alone needed a dose of 100mg/kg or higher to produce significant therapeutic effects.2
  • Antimicrobial properties: Arbutin and extract from the leaves of uva ursi have inhibition effect on (-glucosidase activity of bacteria in vitro.10 The minimal bactericidal concentration of arbutin ranges from 0.4-0.8% depending on the species of microorganism.
  • Arbutin alone has been reported to be an effective urinary antibiotic, but only if taken in large doses and if the urine is alkaline. It is reported to be active against Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.11
  • An in vitro study indicated that aqueous extracts from bearberry leaves increased hydrophobicity of gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli and Acinetobactoer baumannii).12 Thus, the bacterial particles might be more easily aggregated and excreted.
  • In one double-blind study, uva ursi standardized extract was shown to be effective as prophylactic treatment in women with recurrent cystitis.13
  • A study on rats suggests that the disinfection action of uva ursi maybe beneficial for protection from urolithiasis, possibly due to the presence of saponins.14
  • Antitussive properties: A study in cats to determine the effectiveness of arbutin resulted in the ability of arbutin to suppress cough reflex induced by mechanical stimulation in unanesthized cats.15 The administration of 50mg/kg of body weight given by mouth or intraperitoneally was able to decrease the number of efforts, intensity of cough attack, and cough frequency significantly.
  • Antiviral properties: Ursolic acid, a constituent of uva ursi, demonstrated anti-HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) activity with EC50 4.4microM.16
  • Depigmentation properties: In vitro studies indicated that uva ursi was found to be effective in inhibiting melanin production.17
  • A human cell culture study shows that arbutin, a constituent of uva ursi, reduces melanin formation in melanocytes by inhibition of tyrosinase and 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid (DHICA) polymerase activities.18
  • Another human cell culture study shows that the depigmentation effect of arbutin works through an inhibition of the melanosomal tyrosinase activity, rather than suppression of the expression and synthesis of tyrosinase in human melanocytes in vitro.19
  • Ursolic acid, a constituent of uva ursi, was shown to increase ceramide and collagen contents of cultured human epidermal and dermal cells.20
  • A study suggests that aloesin along with arbutin inhibits melanin production synergistically by noncompetitive and competitive inhibitions of tyrosinase activity.3
  • Diuretic properties: A study conducted in rats to evaluate the effects of the extract of uva ursi on diuretic activity resulted in an increase in urine flow.1
  • Endocrine properties: A study of diabetic mice concluded that uva ursi combined with a powdered diet reduced hyperphagia, polydipsia, although the effect of uva ursi was not maintained, and countered body weight loss.21
  • Ursolic acid, a constituent of uva ursi, seems to be a potent acetylcholinesterase (AchE) inhibitor.22
  • Immunological properties: An animal study suggests that hydroquinone inhibits B lineage cell maturation by interruption of macrophage production of IL-1.23

Pharmacodynamics/Kinetics:

  • Ursolic acid, a constituent of uva-uri, has an IC50 of 14.3microM and a therapeutic index of 3.3.16
  • Absorption: Arbutin, a constitiuent of uva ursi, is rapidly absorbed after oral administration.24
  • Excretion: Uva ursi extract has been shown to mark bile-expelling potency at a dose of 0.5g/kg.25
  • A crossover study on six healthy volunteers showed that arbutin equivalent (AE) concentration in the urine was 96% (CI = 80-120%), given gastric juice resistant coated tablets containing an extract of uva ursi folium (250mg tablets containing 50mg hydroquinone derivatives), compared to the water soluble extract.24 The release of AE was retarded for at least three hours while preserving the bioavailability in comparable values.
  • In a preliminary study with three healthy volunteers, more than half of the administered dose of arbutin was excreted within four hours mainly in form of the metabolites hydroquinone glucuronide and hydroquinone sulfate and more than 75% of the total applied arbutin was excreted within 24 hours.4 The elimination of hydroquinone was negligible in two out of three volunteers. The excretion of this metabolite in the third test person reached 5.6% of the total administered arbutin dose.
  • In a randomized crossover design in 16 healthy volunteers, the urinary excretion of arbutin metabolites was examined after ingestion of uva ursi extract as either a film-coated tablet or an aqueous solution.26 The total amounts of hydroquinone equivalents excreted in the urine from uva ursi leaf extract were similar in both groups. With film covered tablets, 64.8% of the arbutin dose administered was excreted; with aqueous solution, 66.7% was excreted (p=0.61). The maximum mean urinary concentration of hydroquinone equivalents was a little higher and peaked earlier in the aqueous solution group versus the film covered tablet group, although this did not reach statistical significance (Curmax=1.6893μmol/ml vs. 1.1250μmol/mL, p=0.13; tmax (t midpoint) = 3.60 hours vs. 4.40 hours, p=0.38). The relative bioavailability of film-covered tablets compared to the aqueous solution was 103.3% for total hydroquinone equivalents.

  1. Beaux D, Fleurentin J, Mortier F. Effect of extracts of Orthosiphon stamineus Benth, Hieracium pilosella L., Sambucus nigra L. and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. in rats. Phytother Res 1999;13(3):222-225. 10353162
  2. Kubo M, Ito M, Nakata H, et al. . Yakugaku Zasshi 1990;110(1):59-67. 1693958
  3. Jin YH, Lee SJ, Chung MH, et al. Aloesin and arbutin inhibit tyrosinase activity in a synergistic manner via a different action mechanism. Arch Pharm Res 1999;22(3):232-236. 10403123
  4. Quintus J, Kovar KA, Link P, et al. Urinary excretion of arbutin metabolites after oral administration of bearberry leaf extracts. Planta Med 2005;71(2):147-152. 15729623
  5. Kruszewska H, Zareba T, Tyski S. Examination of antimicrobial activity of selected non-antibiotic drugs. Acta Pol Pharm 2004;61 Suppl:18-21. 15909927
  6. Parejo I, Viladomat F, Bastida J, et al. A single extraction step in the quantitative analysis of arbutin in bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) leaves by high-performance liquid chromatography. Phytochem Anal 2001;12(5):336-339. 11705262
  7. Wahner C, Schonert J, Friedrich H. . Pharmazie 1974;29(9):616-617. 4473183
  8. Shimizu M, Shiota S, Mizushima T, et al. Marked potentiation of activity of beta-lactams against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus by corilagin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2001;45(11):3198-3201. 11600378
  9. Hsu HY, Yang JJ, Lin CC. Effects of oleanolic acid and ursolic acid on inhibiting tumor growth and enhancing the recovery of hematopoietic system postirradiation in mice. Cancer Lett 1997;111(1-2):7-13. 9022122
  10. Jahodár L, Jílek P, Páktová M, et al. . Ceskoslov Farm 1985;34(5):174-178.
  11. Pizzorno J, Murry M. Textbook of Natural Medicine. 1999;989-990, 1187.
  12. Turi M, Turi E, Koljalg S, et al. Influence of aqueous extracts of medicinal plants on surface hydrophobicity of Escherichia coli strains of different origin. APMIS 1997;105(12):956-962. 9463514
  13. Larsson B, Jonasson A, Fianu S. Prophylactic effect of UVA-E in women with recurrent cystitis: a preliminary report. Current Therapeutic Research 1993;53(4):441-443.
  14. Grases F, Melero G, Costa-Bauza A, et al. Urolithiasis and phytotherapy. Int Urol Nephrol 1994;26(5):507-511. 7860196
  15. Strapkova A, Jahodar L, Nosal’ova G. Antitussive effect of arbutin. Pharmazie 1991;46(8):611-612. 1798722
  16. Kashiwada Y, Nagao T, Hashimoto A, et al. Anti-AIDS agents 38. Anti-HIV activity of 3-O-acyl ursolic acid derivatives. J Nat Prod 2000;63(12):1619-1622. 11141100
  17. Matsuda H, Higashino M, Nakai Y, et al. Studies of cuticle drugs from natural sources. IV. Inhibitory effects of some Arctostaphylos plants on melanin biosynthesis. Biol Pharm Bull 1996;19(1):153-156. 8820931
  18. Chakraborty AK, Funasaka Y, Komoto M, et al. Effect of arbutin on melanogenic proteins in human melanocytes. Pigment Cell Res 1998;11(4):206-212. 9711535
  19. Maeda K, Fukuda M. Arbutin: mechanism of its depigmenting action in human melanocyte culture. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1996;276(2):765-769. 8632348
  20. Yarosh DB, Both D, Brown D. Liposomal ursolic acid (merotaine) increases ceramides and collagen in human skin. Horm Res 2000;54(5-6):318-321. 11595826
  21. Swanston-Flatt SK, Day C, Bailey CJ, et al. Evaluation of traditional plant treatments for diabetes: studies in streptozotocin diabetic mice. Acta diabetol lat 1989;26:51-55.
  22. Chung YK, Heo HJ, Kim EK, et al. Inhibitory effect of ursolic acid purified from Origanum majorana L on the acetylcholinesterase. Mol Cells 2001;11(2):137-143. 11355692
  23. King AG, Landreth KS, Wierda D. Bone marrow stromal cell regulation of B-lymphopoiesis. II. Mechanisms of hydroquinone inhibition of pre-B cell maturation. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1989;250(2):582-590. 2788217
  24. Paper DH, Koehler J, Franz G. Bioavailability of drug preparations containing a leaf extract of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. (Uvae ursi folium). Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Lett 1993;3:63-66.
  25. Azhunova TA, Sambueva ZG, Nikolaev SM, et al. . Farmatsiia 1988;37(2):41-43.
  26. Schindler G, Patzak U, Brinkhaus B, et al. Urinary excretion and metabolism of arbutin after oral administration of Arctostaphylos uvae ursi extract as film-coated tablets and aqueous solution in healthy humans. J Clin Pharmacol 2002;42(8):920-927. 12162475

Plant Database

Habitat

  • native to northern regions of Europe, Asia and North America
  • in United States, found as far South as northern California and Virginia
  • tends to occur naturally in sandy or rocky soil
  • zone 3

Habit and Form

  • an evergreen groundcover
  • low growing forming dense, spreading mats
  • individual plants can be 6″ to 12″ tall by 15″ diameter
  • fine texture
  • slow growing

Summer Foliage

  • alternate, simple leaves
  • evergreen, with dark green color
  • glabrous to shiny
  • 0.5″ to 1.25″ long and 0.25″ to 0.5″ wide

Autumn Foliage

  • evergreen
  • may turn a bronze or a reddish color in the fall and winter

Flowers

  • white to pink color
  • small, urn-shaped flowers
  • blooms in April and May
  • interesting up close, but not overwhelmingly showy

Fruit

  • bright red berries (drupe)
  • develop in late summer and persist
  • 0.25″ to 0.33″ diameter
  • best viewed up close
  • not highly showy

Bark

  • stems are fine so bark is not a major feature
  • older stems have thin exfoliating bark
  • loose bark is silvery and papery, while base bark is purplish red.

Culture

  • can be difficult to transplant and establish
  • probably prefers a well-drained, sandy soil
  • acidic soils may be best
  • full sun to very light shade
  • do not fertilize
  • does not need pruning

Landscape Use

  • salt tolerant, so good seaside groundcover
  • is effective plant along a rock wall where it can cascade over the edge
  • useful on sandy slopes and banks

Liabilities

  • hard to establish
  • can develop winter burn from sun and wind when cold
  • does not like excessive summer heat
  • can develop foliar diseases when stressed (leaf spot)

ID Features

  • evergreen groundcover
  • small, dark green, alternate leaves
  • small white urn-shaped flowers in spring, red fruit in late summer
  • papery exfoliating bark with purple-red base color
  • thin, sprawling stems

Propagation

  • by stem cuttings
  • seed require scarification and stratification

Cultivars/Varieties

‘Massachusetts’ – A disease resistant selection with smaller leaves than the species. Tends to flower and fruit well. Raised on the west coast of U.S. from Massachusetts seed. Very common in the trade.

‘Point Reyes’ – Features good, deep-green foliage color and leaves closely-spaced on the stems. Supposedly more heat and drought tolerant than other forms.

‘Vancouver Jade’ – A University of British Columbia Botanical Garden introduction. Has larger, glossier leaves than typical. Foliage develops a nice wine color in the fall. A more vigorous grower than most A. uva-ursi.

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