Ericaceae (heath family) Arctostaphylos

Arctostaphylos spp. manzanitas

Various native ranges

Arctostaphylos densiflora, and varieties derived from it, almost exclusively ‘Howard McMinn’, are widely planted as low to medium-high hedges. Refer to the tree maps for central campus locations of A. densiflora [habit illustration].

Selections of A. uva-ursi and hybrid A. ‘Emerald Carpet’ are planted as ground covers in the Inner Quad circles and many other locations; ‘Emerald Carpet’ is currently widely used. A. ‘Pacific Mist’ [habit illustration] has been planted along Palm Drive and other campus streets. It does not appear to be thriving in areas that receive intermittent disturbance, and much replanting has been done of this handsome, gray-green leaved, mounding groundcover. In October 2006 it was replaced by Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Lowfast’ along Palm Drive. It is particularly striking against a background of the taller, shiny-green leaved ‘Howard McMinn’. Another popular, low groundcover Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘Monterey Carpet’ is probably also present on campus. A. edmudsii ‘Carmel Sur’ is another protrate manzanita and a few patches survive at the front of Cordura Hall.

A. hookeri ‘Wayside’, a compact, vigorous-growing strain of Hooker manzanita is reported having been planted, including Dueña Mall at Panama, an area heavily impacted by reconstruction and new construction in 2008. According to SHRF, the parent plant is 30" high and 12' wide; glossy green leaves; white flowers; trailing branches take root.

A. crustacea subsp. crustacea (syn. A. tomentosa subsp. crustacea), brittle-leaved manzanita, is a common component of chaparral at Japer Ridge. A. crustacea subsp. crinita is less common on the preserve or individuals identified as such may be subsp. crustacea with more than usual abaxial leaf hairs. Thomas Douglas propagated from locally gathered seed A. tomentosa, an earlier name for A. crustacea, in the late 1880s for Arboretum planting but no survivors are known. See herbarium labels of early collections.

There are planting records for the beautiful and rare (in the wild) A. stanfordiana, but no present campus locations are known.

Name derivation: arktos – means bear and also the constellation of the Great Bear, Ursa Major; staphylos – meant, and still means, grape; hence the common name bear-berry.

About this Entry: John Rawlings authored the main text of this entry ca. 2008. A. crustea/tomentosa names updated (Dec 2017, SP). Entry title simplified to A. spp; at some point perhaps all A. should be in a single entry.