Bearberry

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

bearberry Arctostaphylos uva ursi and other species of the same genus. This is a low scrubby plant which grows wild in northern and Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and America. It provides dry, unappetizing fruits which are eaten only in times of famine, or by bears, as its botanical name doubly indicates (Arctostaphylos and uva ursi mean ‘bear’s grapes’ in Greek and Latin respectively). However, the berries of A. alpina, the alpine bearberry, which are less dry and reasonably pleasant to eat, are consumed in Lapland and parts of Russia.