Overview

Brief Summary

Genus Abstract

Arctostaphylos is a genus of plants in the family Ericaceae. This group of 109 shrubs and small trees has a center of biological diversity in the California Floristic Province, although a few of the bearberries are circumboreal and widespread. There are significant conservation issues for the genus, since many species have highly restricted distribution,and many are classified as rare or endangered species; over half of the taxa are classified as rare or endangered species by the California Native Plant Society. The evolution and taxonomy of the Arctostaphylos genus are complex issues, the subjects of which have recently been explored with genome sequencing analysis. The taxa in the genus generally have reddish or orange bark and mealy berry-like fruits.

The genus evolution was likely centered in the far western part of North America, where fossil ancestors dating to the Middle Miocene are apparent. The genus was likely even more diversified as it evolved into the Early Tertiary. Evolution of genus Arctostaphylos likely shares a similar timeline with that of Ceanothus, which is another western North America genus that exhibits fire regenerative properties. Extensive use of the fruit and leaves were made by prehistoric peoples for culinary, medicinal and ceremonial purposes.

While 96 of Arctostaphylos taxa are found in California, there are several species that are circumboreal in distribution. The most widespread species are Red, Alpine and Common bearberry; in fact Common bearberry, A. uva-ursi, is found in arctic and subarctic circumboreal regions, and their range extends south to higher altitude habitats in the Rocky Mountains in North America; and to the Grampians, Carpathians, Alps and Caucasus in Eurasia.

Most of the species within the Arctostaphylos genus are evergreen, with Red bearberry and Alpine bearberry being exceptions. Plant height within this group varies between 30 centimeters and 600 centimeters, with architecture varying between erect to prostrate form; moreover, many of the taxa are characterized by a fire-resistant basal burl. The bark color is generally reddish to orange, and while typically very smooth, some species have a distinctive shredding or peeling character. The simple, alternating leaves are spreading to ascending, and are sometimes convex. Leaf margins are flat to rolled. Although upper and lower leaf surfaces are sometimes similar, some species manifest differences in color or stomatal density in upper versus lower leaf surface. For example, coastal California taxa have stomata restricted to the lower leaf surface.

All taxa within the genus are hermaphroditic and insect pollinated. Flowers characteristically appear in the Northern Hemiisphere spring, with many coastal species blooming as early as winter, due to the mild conditions of coastal microclimates. Fruits develop in summer and endure for a long time well into autumn.

The chaparral biome is considered classic habitat of the Arctostaphylos genus in its center of diversity; however, there are many California occurrences in forest settings especially oak woodland and savanna. In many cases the taxa are found on highly distinctive soil substrates which are notable in extreme pH, mineral content (especially ultramafic soils), high sand content, extreme surface compaction or other notable abiotic factors. Common chaparral associates are Prunus ilicifolia, Cercocarpus betuloides, rhamnus crocea, Rhamnus california, chamise, Toxicodendron diversilobum, and a wide variety of Ceanothus species. Arctostaphylos species are also a key component of communities which are transitional between chaparral and coastal sage scrub types.

  • C.Michael Hogan. 2012. Arctostaphylos. Eds. M.McGinley and C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. http://www.eoearth.org/article/Arctostaphylos
  • Laura M.Boykin, Michael C.Vasey, V.Thomas Parker and Robert Patterson. 2005. Two Lineages of Arctostaphylos (Ericaceae)Identified using the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) Region of the Nuclear Genome. Madrono, vol. 52, no. 3, pp 139-147
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Physical Description

Morphology

Most of the taxa within the Arctostaphylos genus are evergreen, with Red bearberry and Alpine bearberry being exceptions. Plant height within this group varies between 70 centimeters and 600 centimeters, with architecture varying between erect to prostrate in form; moreover, many of the taxa are characterized by a fire-resistant basal burl. The bark color is generally reddish to orange, and while typically very smooth, some species have a distinctive shredding or peeling character.

The simple, alternating leaves are spreading to ascending, and are sometimes convex. Leaf margins are flat to rolled. Although upper and lower leaf surfaces are sometimes similar, some species manifest ifferences in color or stomatal density in upper versus lower leaf surface. For example, coastal California taxa have stomata restricted to the lower leaf surface.

The terminal inflorescences are panicle or raceme in form; moreover, flowers have bracts that may be either scale-like or leaf-like. The radially symmetric flowers typically have a five lobed corolla and five free and persistent sepals. Corollae are spheric to bowl shaped, and are most often white to pink. Most often there are ten stamens and two recurved awns. The ovary is superior, with base circumscribed by a nectar disk. Fruits are berry-like and approximately spheric, with generally thick, mealy pulp and two to ten stones.

  • * C.Michael Hogan. 2010. ''Genus Arctostaphylos''. Encyclopedia of Earth. ed. Cutler Cleveland (in publication)
  • * Jepson Manual. 1993. ''Arctostaphylos''. University of California, Berkeley, Ca.
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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / parasite
epiphyllous, subepidermal, opening by slit or by 4 to 5 teeth apothecium of Coccomyces arctostaphyli parasitises dead leaf of Arctostaphylos

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
fruitbody of Hydnellum caeruleum is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Arctostaphylos
Remarks: Other: uncertain
Other: minor host/prey

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Arctostaphylos

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Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:55Public Records:10
Specimens with Sequences:35Public Species:3
Specimens with Barcodes:33Public BINs:0
Species:5         
Species With Barcodes:5         
          
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Wikipedia

Arctostaphylos

See also: Manzanita

Arctostaphylos (/ˌɑrktɵˈstæfɨləs/;[1] arkto bear + staphyle grape) is a genus of plants comprising the manzanitas /ˌmænzəˈntə/ and bearberries. They are shrubs or small trees.

There are about 60 species of Arctostaphylos, ranging from ground-hugging arctic, coastal, and mountain species to small trees up to 6 m tall. Most are evergreen (one species deciduous), with small oval leaves 1–7 cm long, arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are bell-shaped, white or pale pink, and borne in small clusters of 2-20 together; flowering is in the spring. The fruit are small berries, ripening in the summer or autumn. The berries of some species are edible.

Arctostaphylos species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora arctostaphyli (which feeds exclusively on A. uva-ursi) and Coleophora glaucella.

Taxonomy[edit]

According to Philip V. Wells in The Jepson Manual and other sources, there are two subgenera of Arctostaphylos:

Synonyms

See also the closely related genus Comarostaphylis, previously often included in Arctostaphylos.

Distribution[edit]

Pinemat Manzanita (A. nevadensis) occurs from Washington to California.

Manzanitas, the bulk of Arctostaphylos spp., are present in the chaparral biome of western North America, where they occur from southern British Columbia in Canada, Washington to California and New Mexico in the United States, and throughout much of northern and central Mexico.

Three species, the bearberries, A. alpina (alpine bearberry), A. rubra (red bearberry) and A. uva-ursi (common bearberry), have adapted to arctic and subarctic climates, and have a circumpolar distribution in northern North America, Asia and Europe.

An unusual association of manzanita occurs on Hood Mountain, in Sonoma County, California, where stands of pygmy forest dominated by Mendocino Cypress are found.

Cultivation[edit]

Cultivation is generally difficult due to fungal diseases, and often salinity and alkalinity. Overhead watering should be avoided in hot weather. Some cultivars are easier to grow.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607

Further reading[edit]

  • James C. Hickman. 1993. The Jepson Manual: higher plants of California, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. ISBN 0-520-082559.
  • C. Michael Hogan. 2012. Arctostaphylos. Eds. M.McGinley and C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment.
  • Treatment from the Jepson Manual
  • Philip V. Wells. 2000. Manzanitas of California, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Lawrence, Kansas. ISBN 0-933994-22-2.
  • Philip V. Wells. 1992. Subgenera and sections of Arctostaphylos. The Four Seasons 9: 64-69.
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Bearberry

For other uses, see Bearberry (disambiguation).

Bearberries are three species of dwarf shrubs in the genus Arctostaphylos. Unlike the other species of Arctostaphylos (see manzanita), they are adapted to Arctic and Subarctic climates, and have a circumpolar distribution in northern North America, Asia and Europe, one with a small highly disjunctive population in Central America.

Species[edit]

The name "bearberry" for the plant derives from the edible fruit which is a favorite food of bears.[1] The fruit, also called bearberries, are edible and are sometimes gathered for food. The leaves of the plant are used in herbal medicine.[2]

Other recorded old English common names include arberry, bear's grape, crowberry, foxberry, hog cranberry, kinnikinnick, mealberry, mountain box, mountain cranberry, mountain tobacco, sandberry, upland cranberry, and uva-ursi.

Uses in folk medicine[edit]

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

The plant contains arbutin, ursolic acid, tannic acid, gallic acid, some essential oil and resin, hydroquinones (mainly arbutin, up to 17%), tannins (up to 15%), phenolic glycosides and flavonoids.[2]

The leaves are picked any time during the summer and dried for use in infusions, liquid extracts, medicinal tea bags and tablets believed to be potentially effective in folk medicine.[3]

Bearberry appears to be relatively safe, although large doses may cause nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, severe back pain and tinnitus.[4] It should not be used during pregnancy, breast feeding, or in children or patients with kidney disease.[3][5][6]

The efficacy and safety[4] of bearberry treatment in humans remains unproven, despite long-term use in folk medicine.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Although human pilot studies exist,[14][15] no large clinical trials have ever been conducted.

History and folklore[edit]

Common bearberry from Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885

Bearberry was first documented in The Physicians of Myddfai, a 13th-century Welsh herbal. It was also described by Clusius in 1601, and recommended for medicinal use in 1763 by Gerhard and others. Often called uva-ursi, from the Latin uva, "grape, berry of the vine", ursi, "bear", i.e. "bear's grape". It first appeared in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1788.

In Strathnairn, Scotland there is a hill, known as Brin Mains, but which is known in Scottish Gaelic as "Cnoc nan Cnàimhseag" which means "The hill of the bearberries".

Folk tales suggest Marco Polo thought the Chinese were using it as a diuretic. Bearberry leaves are used medicinally in parts of Europe, and are officially classified as a phytomedicine.[2] Native Americans use bearberry leaves with tobacco and other herbs in religious ceremonies, both as a smudge (type of incense) or smoked in a sacred pipe carrying the smoker's prayers to the Great Spirit. When mixed with tobacco or other herbs, it is referred to as kinnikinnick, from an Algonquian (probably Delaware) word for "mixture". Among the ingredients in kinnikinnick were non-poisonous sumac leaves,[16] and the inner bark of certain bushes such as red osier dogwood (silky cornell),[16] chokecherry, and alder, to improve the taste of the bearberry leaf.[17]

Sources[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Janice J. Schofield (1989). Discovering wild plants: Alaska, western Canada, the Northwest. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-88240-355-7. 
  2. ^ a b c Pegg, Ronald B.; Rybarczyk, Anna and Amarowicz, Ryszard (2008) "Chromatographic Separation of Tannin Fractions from a Bearberry-leaf (Arctostaphylos Uva-ursi L. Sprengel) Extract by Se-hplc – a Short Report" Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences 58(4): pp. 485–490
  3. ^ a b American Botanical Council (1998). Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Thieme. ISBN 978-0-9655555-0-0. 
  4. ^ a b Allen C. Bowling (2006). Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis. Demos Medical Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-932603-54-5. 
  5. ^ Nordeng H. and Havnen, G.C. (2005) "Impact of socio-demographic factors, knowledge and attitude on the use of herbal drugs in pregnancy" Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 84(1): pp. 26–33, note 16, doi:10.1111/j.0001-6349.2005.00648.x.
  6. ^ Borins, M. (1998) "The dangers of using herbs: What your patients need to know" Postgraduate medicine 104(1): pp. 91–95, 99–100.
  7. ^ Jahodar L., Jilek P., Paktova M., and Dvorakova V. (1985) "Antimicrobial effect of arbutin and an extract of the leaves of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in vitro" Ceskoslovenska Farmacie 34: pp. 174–178
  8. ^ Moskalenko S. (1986) "Preliminary screening of far-Eastern ethnomedical plants for antibacterial activity" Journal of Ethnopharmacology 15: pp. 231–259
  9. ^ Annuk H., Hirmo S., Turi E., Mikelsaar M., Arak E., and Wadstrom T. (1999) "Effect on cell surface hydrophobicity and susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to medicinal plant extracts" FEMS Microbiology Letters 172: pp. 41–45
  10. ^ Park S. (1994) "The repression of listeriolysin O expression in Listeria monocytogenes by the phenolic beta-D-glucoside, arbutin" Letters in Applied Microbiology 19: pp. 258–260
  11. ^ Robertson J. and Howard L. (1987) "Effect of carbohydrates on growth of Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis" Journal of Clinical Microbiology 25: pp. 160–161
  12. ^ Ng T.B., Ling J.M., Wang Z.T., Cai J.N., and Xu G.J. (1996) "Examination of coumarins, flavonoids and polysaccharopeptide for antibacterial activity" General Pharmacology: The Vascular System 27: pp. 1237–1240
  13. ^ Nikolaev S., SHantanova L., Mondodoev A., Rakshaina M., Lonshakova K., and Glyzin V. (1996) "Pharmacological activity of the dry extract from the leaves for Arctostaphylos uva-ursi L in experimental nephropyelitis" Rastitelnye Resursy (Plant Research) 32: pp. 118–123
  14. ^ a b Larsson B., Jonasson A., and Fianu S. (1993) "Prophylactic effect of UVA-E in women with recurrent cystitis: A preliminary report" Current Therap Res Clin Exper 53: pp. 441–443
  15. ^ Parvez, Shoukat et al. (2006) "Survey and mechanism of skin depigmenting and lightening agents" Phytotherapy Res 20(1): pp.921 –934, doi:10.1002/ptr.1954
  16. ^ a b Upham, Warren (2001). Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 481. ISBN 978-0-87351-396-8. 
  17. ^ Staff (2009) "Bearberry" Discovering Lewis and Clark The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation
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