Flavourless berry

Bearberry, foto Jussi Helimäki

The bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) grows in dry, sandy areas. In Helsinki, one such sandy coniferous forest can be found in Kallahdenniemi.

The berries, which bear a very close resemblance to lingonberries, are rarely eaten by people due to their bland flavour. However, the bearberry does have a variety of other uses. The arbutin contained in the leaves is used by the pharmaceutical industry in various drugs and cosmetics. In addition to this, the plant is also used to produce grey and black dyes. It has also been used in the tanning of leather. Nowadays the bearberry is also used in plantings as a ground cover plant.