(Plant Identification for everyone)

Common Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita) aka Whiteleaf Manzanita

Common Manzanita, found only in California, can be quite large, growing to tree size. These large Manzanitas have beautiful bare red trunks, reminding me of Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) trunks, which are browner.


Because it is so large, Comman Manzanita can really cover the ground with flowers when they fall in March.


In Marin County, this Manzanita is only found north of San Rafael and Kentfield. [California Distribution Map]














Green leaves all year long

White Flowers











Field ID Tips

  Found on grassy or open wooded non-serpentine hills

  Shrubby to tree-size.

  Leaves long, oval and thick.

  Blooms Dec - March

  Bark is red and smooth, or brown and scaly.

  Large clusters of hanging white flowers.

  Drops copious amounts of white flowers in March.


Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp manzanita_Common Manzanita__DLS--__DLS

Abundant flowers.


Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. manzanita_Parry Manzanita 3__JB

Spherical berries with no hair.





Manzanitas of Marin


Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. manzanita_Parry Manzanita 6__JB-__JB

Notice 1) Long oval leaves, 2) tiny hairs, 3) base of early flower growth has small leaves (bracts) with brown tips.


Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp manzanita_Common Manzanita__SM-4-__SM

These large manzanitas drop many flowers at the end of the blooming season.


Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. manzanita_Parry Manzanita 8__JB-__JB

A beautiful red-barked Common Manzanita tree.



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Last Updated 10/19/2014 by BHS.


Note to botanists this page uses common vocabulary, sacrificing more precise scientific terms in the interest of general communication. We hope the loss of precision in wording is, to some extent, made up for by photographs showing key identification points.


Note to non-botanists Here are some terms you might be interested in:

         Bract Before a Manzanita flowers, it develops a distinctive pre-flower shape. In Marin, these nascent inflorescences may look like small leaves, brown scales, or red bumps. For Hoary Manzanita, the bract looks like tiny fuzzy leaves, that often recurve away from the stem.