Description from Flora of China
Arbutus alpina Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 395. 1753; Arctostaphylos alpina (Linnaeus) Sprengel; Mairania alpina (Linnaeus) Desvaux; ?Arctous alpinus var. japonicus (Nakai) Ohwi; ?A. japonicus Nakai.
Shrubs dwarf, tufted or prostrate, 3–20(–40) cm tall. Twigs terete, glabrous. Leaf blade obovate to spatulate-obovate, rarely oblanceolate, 2–5 (including petiole) × 0.7–2 cm, thickly papery, glabrous, fine veins abaxially reticulate, subglaucous, adaxially distinctly impressed, base attenuate-cuneate, decurrent into winged petiole, margin crenate-serrate, ciliate in basal 1/2 at least along petiole, apex acute or rounded. Racemes 3–7-flowered. Pedicel ca. 5 mm, glabrous. Calyx lobes broadly ovate, apex acute. Corolla white, 4–6 mm; lobes greenish. Stamens 1–2 mm; filaments pubescent. Drupe black-purple, globose, 6–9 mm in diam. Fl. May–Jul, fr. Jul–Aug. 2n = 26, 28.
The fruit is edible.
Alpine thickets, among rocks, sandy areas; 1900–3000 m. Gansu, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, N Sichuan, Xinjiang [Japan, Mongolia, Russia; Europe, North America].