Alpine Bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpina)

Shrub
Arbutus alpina. Arctous alpina. (L.)Niedenzu.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Alpine Bearberry
Arctostaphylos alpina
Ericaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    An infusion of the pounded plant has been used as an external wash in the treatment of rheumatism and general illnesses[257].

    A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of internal blood diseases[257].

    The leaves are narcotic and have been smoked to cause intoxication[257].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[2, 62, 105]. Very juicy but slightly bitter[101]. Another report says that they are juicy but insipid[257]. The flavour is much improved by cooking[257]. Not as nice as many other wild fruits, but nor are they unpleasant[2]. The fruit is about 6 – 9mm in diameter[200, 266], it is not usually produced very freely[257].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a shady position in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe[78]. Pre-soak dried seed and sow as early in the year as possible[134]. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 3 months at 15¡c[134]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of side shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, August to December in a frame. Takes one year[78]. Division in early spring. Take care because the plant resents root disturbance[200]. Pot the divisions up and keep them in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away actively. Layering in spring[200].
Requires a deep moist well-drained light or medium lime-free loam in sun or semi-shade[182, 200]. Prefers a cool damp position[11]. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their final positions as soon as possible[134]. Grows well in a rock garden[11]. This plant is placed in a separate genus, as Arctuous alpinus, by some botanists due to its deciduous habit[11, 200].
N. Europe, including Britain, N. Asia to Japan, west to Greenland and northern N. America..

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.