|Photo by Royal Botanical Gardens
Also known as: kinnikinnick
French name: raison d'ours
Bloom time: April to June
Report for: YK, NT, NU, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, PEI
General: Trailing evergreen shrub, up to 10 cm tall; often forming mats.
Leaves & Twigs: Leaves have a somewhat shiny upper surface and leathery texture.
Oval to spatula-shaped leaves, 1–2 cm long, similar to cranberry leaves, but more flat and dull.
Flowers & Fruit: Tiny pinkish to white flowers shaped like vases or urns occur in small clusters that droop off branch tips.
Note: Flowers are similar to the cranberry’s, but bearberry blossoms have semi-translucent “windows” at their base. Cranberry flowers open wide to expose their stamens and pistils, while bearberry flowers hide theirs. Also, bearberry flowers earlier than cranberry.
This circumboreal shrub is found in sandy, well-drained sites in woodlands and open areas.
Sampling: Select a typical patch of plants, if the plants are very abundant, mark off a l-metre-square section to observe.
- First bloom when the first flowers open like little pink “lips” at the tip (three places)
- Mid bloom when 50% of the flowers on observed plants are open at the tip
|The fruit of the bearberry is a favourite food of bears.