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Whiteleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Arbutoideae
Genus: Arctostaphylos
Type species
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

About 60, see text.

Arctostaphylos (/ˌɑːrktˈstæfɪləs, -lɒs/;[1][2] from ἄρκτος árktos "bear" and σταφυλή staphulḗ "bunch of grapes") is a genus of plants comprising the manzanitas (/ˌmænzəˈntəz/[3][4]) and bearberries. They are shrubs or small trees.

There are about 60 species, of Arctostaphylos, ranging from ground-hugging arctic, coastal, and mountain species to small trees up to 6 m tall. Most are evergreen (one species deciduous), with small oval leaves 1–7 cm long, arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are bell-shaped, white or pale pink, and borne in small clusters of 2–20 together; flowering is in the spring. The fruit are small berries, ripening in the summer or autumn. The berries of some species are edible.

Arctostaphylos species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora arctostaphyli (which feeds exclusively on A. uva-ursi) and Coleophora glaucella.


Pinemat manzanita (A. nevadensis) occurs from Washington to California.

Manzanitas, the bulk of Arctostaphylos species, are present in the chaparral biome of western North America, where they occur from southern British Columbia in Canada, Washington to California and New Mexico in the United States, and throughout much of northern and central Mexico.

Three species, the bearberries, A. alpina (alpine bearberry), A. rubra (red bearberry) and A. uva-ursi (common bearberry), have adapted to arctic and subarctic climates, and have a circumpolar distribution in northern North America, Asia and Europe.

An unusual association of manzanita occurs on Hood Mountain, in Sonoma County, California, where stands of pygmy forest dominated by Mendocino cypress are found.

Fossil record[edit]

One fossil fruit of †Arctostaphylos globula and several fossil fruits of †Arctostaphylos menzelii have been described from middle Miocene strata of the Fasterholt area near Silkeborg in Central Jutland, Denmark.[5]


Cultivation is generally difficult due to fungal diseases, and often salinity and alkalinity. Overhead watering should be avoided in hot weather. Some cultivars are easier to grow.


The following species are recognised in the genus Arctostaphylos:[6]

See also the closely related genus Comarostaphylis, previously often included in Arctostaphylos.


  1. ^ "Arctostaphylos". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ "manzanita". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  4. ^ "manzanita". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2020-03-22.
  5. ^ Angiosperm Fruits and Seeds from the Middle Miocene of Jutland (Denmark) by Else Marie Friis, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters 24:3, 1985
  6. ^ "Arctostaphylos Adans. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 2022-04-29.

Further reading[edit]

External Links[edit]

Jepson Manual Treatment