Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pinemat manzanita (Arctostaphylos nevadensis) in the Carson Range

So Many Manzanitas. That is the title of a chapter in a book about gardening of native plants in California [1].  There are over 50 manzanita species (Genus: Arctostaphylos, belonging to the heath family, Ericaceae) and many have been considered for horticulture.

Manzanitas are native to California, Oregon and bordering areas including some corners of Nevada [1-4]. Pinemat manzanita is a mountain dweller loving open slopes and rock terraces in coniferous forests. The shrubs shown here grow next to the Tahoe Rim Trail at an elevation above 7,500 feet, south of Heavenly in the Carson Range, a few miles away from the California-Nevada stateline. They are rugged and undemanding plants, adapted to a special habitat with a snow-rich winter season and dry, hot summer months. Pinemat manzanita is an evergreen shrub, having the manzanita-typical shredding or smooth twigs with orange to brown color (picture above). The fruits are and berry-size “little apples” (picture below): spherical drupes of yellowish red to brown color when ripe.

Pinemats often grow near or between rocks, but also on crumbly soil, which they cover as dense mats—naturally providing erosion control.  

References and more to explore
[1] N. Nevin Smith: Native Treasures. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006.
[2] USDA & NRCS Plant Guide - pinemat manzanita, Arctostaphylos nevadensis A. Gray: plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_arne.pdf.
[3] Ericaceae: ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_JM_treatment.pl?3449,3454,3507.
[4] Arctostaphylos nevadensis A. Gray - pinemat manzanita: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARNE.

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