Chumash: tšqoqo’on Español: manzanita
Category: Shrub or small tree
Origin: Native to California; ranging throughout depending on species
Height: 6 to 23 feet tall
depending on species
Flower color: Showy pink to white
Bloomtime: Winter to Spring
Exposure: Full sun
Irrigation: Low water needs
The word manzanita is the Spanish diminutive of manzana (apple). A literal translation would be little apple. Manzanita is a common name for many species of the genus Arctostaphylos. They are evergreen shrubs or small trees present in the chaparral biome of western North America. They are characterized by smooth, orange or red bark and stiff, twisting branches. The berries, small fruits, and flowers of most species are edible. Manzanita wood, when dry, is excellent for burning in a campfire, barbecue, fireplace, or stove. It is dense and burns at a high temperature for long periods.
Traditional uses of the plant include collecting the berries, drying them, and grinding them up into a coarse meal. Fresh berries and branch tips can be soaked in water to make a cider. Native Americans used Manzanita leaves as toothbrushes. It was also used as substitute for sugar. A tea/tincture made from manzanita berries can be used for poison oak rash. Manzanitas are great wildlife plants. Providing nectar for butterflies, hummingbirds and native insects. Many of the manzanitas regulate their nectar to attract different insects, butterflies and hummingbirds during the day.