Arctostaphylos species in Marin
Text and photos by Doreen Smith
Arctostaphylos canescens ssp. canescens (Hoary Manzanita)
Grows on the S-facing slopes of Mt. Tamalpais on sandstone ridges.
Easiest place to see it is on the Verna Dunshee trail, newly refurbished, about the East Peak.
One of the most beautiful species in this genus.
The Jepson Herbarium has a voucher named as this species from coastal Marin, we haven’t seen the shrub here ourselves here.
It is common on the more Northern Coast, such as this picture of a flowering shoot from Mendocino County.
Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. glandulosa (Glandular Eastwood Manzanita T.L.)
This is comon on Mt. Tamalpais and other high ridges of the county-such as Big Rock Ridge above (North of) Lucas Valley Road. Other populations occur on Pt. Reyes, mostly above Inverness on Mt. Vision’s eastern slopes.
There is significant variation within this species in all floral and vegetative features but all plants have a basal burl and will sprout after fires.
Arctostaphylos hookeri ssp. montana (Mt. Tamalpais Manzanita LIST 1 or A. montana as is its new/old name)
Mt. Tamalpais is the place to see this later-blooming manzanita, it’s mostly on serpentinite soils.
The leaves are characteristically sharply-pointed.
Arctostaphylos manzanita (Parry/Common Manzanita S.L.)
Marin is the southernmost point of this species’ distribution; it’s mostly in the north-east of the county such as at China Camp State Park and about Novato. It can be a shrub or small tree and it is the earliest to bloom, sometimes even in late December. Most plants have white flowers but pink-flowered individuals occur occasionally.
Arctostaphylos sensitiva (Shatterberry Manzanita
Grows only on the western ridges of Mt. Tamalpais, including the Bolinas Ridge. Though most flowers are produced in late winter, some bloom can be found much of the year. The fruits are uniquely-shaped, not fleshy and shatter when ripe.
Arctostaphylos stanfordiana ssp. decumbens (Rincon Manzanita LIST 1B)
Herbarium specimens labelled with this name are in CAS herbarium. supposedly collected in the bishop pine forest of Tomales Bay State Park. We have not been able to locate the plants in recent years. It has a prostrate habit, yellow-green leaves and shell-pink flowers.
Arctostaphylos tomentosa ssp. rosei
Recorded from near Alice Eastwood Camp above Muir Woods.
This is another species not seen or reported in recent years.
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry Manzanita)
A creeping shrub from Pt. Reyes, mainly on ocean-facing bluffs- such as near the lighthouse parking- area.
Arctostaphylos virgata (Bolinas Manzanita LIST 1)
A Marin endemic species luckily quite common on Pt. Reyes associated with forest openings and scattered elsewhere, for example on the Bolinas Ridge. It is again an early bloomer, starting in late January.
Arctostaphylos viscida (Sticky Manzanita)
Not seen recently but reported from the N. San Rafael hills above Santa Venetia, maybe a victim of fire-road maintenance.