Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Hairy Manzanita - Arctostaphylos columbiana

Fruit Dye, Wood


General 1-3 m tall. [IFBC][E-flora] "...the young twigs densely covered with long and short often glandular hairs".[HNW] "old branches with rich, reddish-brown bark that flakes and peels." [PCBC]
Lifecycle Evergreen.[PFAF]
Flowers "...hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)" Self-fertile. Bee pollinated.[PFAF] In terminal clusters. white or pinkish.[IFBC][E-flora] Urn-shaped, 6-7mm long. [PCBC]
Fruits Berries, blackish-red.[IFBC][E-flora] coffee-colored.[PCBC] about 1 cm in diameter.[HNW] Hairy all over, more so beneath.[PCBC]
Leaves "Alternate...egg- or lance-shaped to elliptic..."[IFBC][E-flora] "...entire or with very minute teeth." [HNW] Dull green.[WildPNW]
Habitat & Range Dry open forests and rock outcrops, lowland and montane.[IPBC][E-flora] Often in gravelly soil.[HNW] "infrequent in extreme SW BC; S along the coast to CA."[IFBC][E-flora] "Grows in dry rocky or clay soils at low elevations, mostly on western side of Coast Range but also found further inland." [WildPNW] "Grows in coniferous forests, chaparrals, and coastal scrubs, from sea level to 750 m (2,500 ft), in the western Klamath Mountains and northern Coast Ranges, and into the Pacific Northwest." [treesshrubsCA]
Status Native.[E-flora]
Ecological Indicator Shade-intolerant. "...on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-poor soils...Occasional in open-canopy, young-seral Douglas­-fir forests, more frequent in the open and in clearings, on shallow, strongly drained soils on rock outcrops and upper slopes." [IPBC][E-flora]

Food Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses



"Requires a deep moist well-drained light or medium lime-free loam in sun or semi-shade[11, 134, 200] but plants produce less fruit when they are grown in the shade[200]. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their final positions as soon as possible[134]. This species is very closely related to A. tomentosa, but with a more northerly range[11]."[PFAF]


"Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak dried seed in boiling water for 10 - 20 seconds or burn some straw on top of them and then stratify at 2 - 5oc for 2 months[11, 200]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 months at 15oc[134]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first winter, Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of side shoots of the current season's growth, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August to December in a frame. Takes one year[1, 78]. Division in early spring. Take care because the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and keep them in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away actively. Layering in spring[200]. Layering in spring[200]." [PFAF]

Uses of Other Related Sp.

Manazanita Sp. - Arctostaphylos Sp.
"Most of the forty-three species in the state [of California] were used for food in the early days.[EuCp] Manzanita "fruits were dried and ground, eaten as a flour or mixed with a little water."[Ethchumash] "Fruits eaten raw, steeped in cold water to produce a cider; dried and stored for winter use; decoction of some part of the plant used for bladder ailments. (7)"[Boeck ECI]

"Kinnikinnick and hairy manzanita hybridize where their ranges overlap. The resulting low shrub, sometimes described as Arctostaphylos x media, is intermediate in most characteristics having, for example, slightly hairy undersurfaces on its leaves (vs. mostly smooth in kinnikinnick and hairy in hairy manzanita)." [PCBC]

The leaves of A. alpina - Alpine bearberry [Northern Canada and Alaska, E to Maine] [Turner&Kuhnlein], A. glandulosa- [California], A. glauca, A. nevadensis, A. patula, A. pungens,A. tomentosa, and A. uva-ursi; Smoked for pleasure, intoxication, or ritual use.[UAPDS]

Manazanito: - Arctostaphylos glauca [California] The leaves are "...highly esteemed as an astringent, like Uva-rsi."[Sayre's MMIV]

Pointleaf manganita - Arctostaphylos pungens. "The leaves are used as a remedy for stomach trouble in Arizona...An excellent jelly is made from the unripe fruits"[Krochmal et al.]

Red alpine bearberry - Arctostaphylos rubra "Berries are eaten infrequently and sometimes processed into jam. Fresh berries are infrequently eaten for colds." [Ethftyukon]

Kinnikinick/Bearberry A. uva-ursi, is a common, ground-trailing species which can be found throughout our area. Unlike A. colubiana, it is not limited to drier environments. It can commonly be found on rocky areas, as well as sand dunes and rocky shorelines near the coast. Kinnikinick is famed for it's urinary antiseptic purposes. It also has edible, though mealy, fruits. Further information on this species will be found on it's profile page. These two species are known to hybridize and yield Arctostaphylos X media - hybrid manzanita. [Personal Note]


Page last modified on Sunday, December 26, 2021 7:12 PM