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Pheatured Plant - Manzanitas

Manzanitas! You are the apple of our eye...

Dr. Hurd Manzanita with hummingbird

There are few shrubs that can inspire more passion from plant lovers than the manzanitas (Arcostaphylos), known as "little apple" in honor of the small berries, which look like miniature apples. Manzanitas are lovely through and through, with delicate white to pink urn shaped flowers in the spring, cider worthy berries, and beautiful red bark.

 

Manzinita edmundsii groundcover

Manzanitas range in height from groundcover of about 3", such as the Big Sur cultivar shown above, to small tree varieties like Dr. Hurd or the Big Berry Manzanitas. Historically, American Indians used the leaves for medicinal and ceremonial purposes and the berries for food in times of real need. The small berries are somewhat bitter and mealy by human standards, and thus better considered for cider than impromptu nibbling. Many butterflies, bees, and birds do find the various manzanitas to be of considerable use. The Dr. Hurd cultivar of the Arctostaphylos Manzanitas that is shown to the left (photo courtesy of Las Pilitas Nursery's website) illustrates manzanitas' value as a nectar plant. Most of these handsome plants are slow growing and many of the larger forms can live up to a hundred years, if they are not over- watered.


PHIG (Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden)
P.O.Box 23454, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
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Tax-exempt 501 (c)(3)  Pictures courtesy of Monika Olsen


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