Arctostaphylos / manzanita
Common Name: Manzanita
As the flowers of this plant are urn or bell shaped, most species require insect visitation to ensure seed-set.
Most Arctostaphylos species prefer well-drained soils in open sunny sites. They tend to be very drought and cold tolerant, and make ideal landscape ornamentals as well as excellent habitat shrubs for pollinators and other wildlife. As the flowers of this plant are urn or bell shaped, most species require insect visitation to ensure seed-set. Pollination is achieved by native bees, such as bumble bees and digger bees, which grasp the flower and shake them by actively beating their wings – a process known as buzz-pollination.
Nationwide, Canada and United States, with the exception of the Southeast and some Midwestern states
Arctostaphylos species are routinely available in garden stores and nurseries in most parts of North America. Most of the numerous species of native manzanita occur in California, several of which are also found in the Pacific Northwest; however, a few species of “bearberry,” the common name for a low-growing, extremely cold-tolerant variety of Arctostaphylos, are distributed throughout Canada and parts of the Northeast United States.
Manzanita: 5 feet
Bearberry: 1/2 foot
Average, but has a high tolerance for drought conditions
Arctostaphylos patula (greenleaf manzanita) is one of the most widespread manzanitas, ranging throughout the mountains of western North America as far east as Colorado. It grows to about 6 feet and is routinely available. Its clusters of white bell-shaped blossoms, which open in spring, provide a valuable pollen and nectar source for a variety of longue-tongued spring bees, including bumble bees, digger bees and mason bees. Wildlife feed on the berries produced by this plant.
Arctostaphylos nevadensis (pinemat manzanita) is native to Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada. This species, which grows to about 3 feet, is available from native plant nurseries within its area of distribution. It produces white blossoms in spring, visited by a number of native bees, and the later fruit provides forage for bear, deer, and other small mammals and a wide array of birds.
Artostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick, bearberry) has a native range from Labrador to Alaska, south to Virginia, Illinois, Nebraska, and in the mountains from New Mexico north through California to Alaska. This long-lived, ground-trailing shrub is very cold tolerant and grows naturally in sandy soils, often covering large tracts of land. It makes an excellent ground-cover, rarely growing to more than 1/2 foot, and producing pink blossoms in the spring and early summer which are visited by a variety of native bees. It is a hardy shrub, suitable for landscaping rocky or sandy sites and is routinely available in nurseries.