ID these berries: Bearberry (Uva Ursi) & Buffalo Berry (Soapberry)

LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,210 admin
edited January 2021 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

Now, is this kinnikinnick/bearberry? We have two types in Manitoba, and I suspect this is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. It looked similar to what is in my ID book.

What are these (below)? They have the thorns like a hawthorn, but the berries & leaves are certainly different. I can't seem to find them in my books.

These plants were both found in a very dry, sandy area.


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,282 admin

    It certainly looks like it to me, but that that grows where I live is a bit more lush than in your photos. Is there a local resource you could consult?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    I'm sure the first one is Uva ursi. It is the only species we have here although a bit further north there is Alpine Bearberry (Arctous alpinus) and Red Bearberry (Arctous rubra) and in South Coastal BC there is Hairy Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana).

    The second one, I think, is Shepherdia argentea or Thorny Buffaloberry, or Soapberry as they are known here. They are native to the South Central Prairies in Canada. I'm not sure how far their range extends southward. I only have the regular Soapberries here, Shepherdia canadensis, so I have never seen this species in person. My info says it has narrower leaves than a regular Soapberry along with those nasty looking thorns. Would probably make picking a lot more difficult!

  • MelissaLynne
    MelissaLynne Posts: 205 ✭✭✭

    Agree that the first is kinnikinnik, don’t know about the other...

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,210 admin
    edited September 2020

    @torey We only have two types here. The second one has dark berries. Good to know that my recognition skills are working.

    Soapberry? Well, that gives me a good suggestion to research. The picking didn't look like it would be too difficult, although I didn't try it either.

    Upon looking up the soapberry, that is correctly ID'd. Excellent!

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning the first picture is actually all three names bearberry, kinnikkinnik and uva ursi. bearberry is common name kinnikkinnik is native american name and uva ursi is botanical.

    second picture there are red hawthorn varriety

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,210 admin

    @nksunshine27 Yes, you are correct...all three names are all correct. I must not have been clear when stating that in my first post. When I used the "/" I knew that those referred to the same plant. But not everyone knows all of the names. They may only be familiar with one.

    Maybe I should have just used these instead: "()". Then I did identify it more specifically with the third name that I posted.

    The second picture is indeed soapberry (Thorny buffaloberry) as @torey stated.

    Once the varieties were identified, I put the correct IDs into the discussion title.