(Plant Identification for everyone)

Marin Manzanita (Arctostaphylos virgata)

Marin Manzanitas have long thin leaves and very sticky fruit. 


It is rare (List 1B.2) in Marin County, and perhaps unknown outside it.  [California Distribution Map]


In Marin, it is found on high ridges, on rocky, brushy slopes at the borders of Bishop Pine or Redwood stands.  You can find several on Bolinas Ridge Road, about ˝ a mile north of the Ridgecrest intersection, and at the top of the hill on Sir Frances Drake Blvd, above Inverness.  You know you’ve found it when you touch the berry and it sticks to your hand.














Green leaves all year long

White/pink flowers











Field ID Tips

·  Blooms Jan – March.

·  A pretty large shrub, typically around 8 feet tall.

·  Leaves covered with grey hairs.

·  Leaves feel rough and sticky.

·  Fruit is a very sticky, bristly sphere.

·  Flowers in dense clusters, grow close to the stem.

·  Longer leaves than most other manzanitas.

·  Tiny leaves (bracts) at the base of flowers.

·  Trunk often shows twists.


Arctostaphylos virgata_Marin Manzanita 3__JB

Leaves almost a willow shape.


Arctostaphylos virgata_Bolinas Manzanita__DLS--__DLS

Flowers grow densely, quite close
to the stem.





Manzanitas of Marin


Arctostaphylos virgata_Marin Manzanita 4__JB-__JB

Notice 1) long narrow leaves, 2) sticky hairs on stem and leaves, small leaves (bracts) at the base of the beginning flower.



Super sticky fruit.  If you touch it, you’ll know you’ve got a Marin Manzanita.


Arctostaphylos virgata_Marin Manzanita_Point Reyes_1977-10-02__WF-__WF

Twisted trunk, large shrub, often grows sideways.



© Creative Commons BY NC 3.0.  Contributors (identified by initials) are acknowledged at http://PlantID.Net/Contributors.htm

Last Updated 10/17/2014 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.  Although the flower may only bloom a few months, these pre-flower areas can be found most of the year.