Random Plant: Manzanita

grbamanzanita2

Manzanita photographed 05/19/2016 at Great Basin National Park, Nevada.

Found throughout large areas of the North American west, manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp., Ericaceae) are common inhabitants of chaparral and other arid shrublands and woodlands. Made up of dozens of species, these woody plants grow as bushes or small trees and can be found all the way from British Columbia down through Mexico.

grbamanzanita

Manzanita photographed 05/19/2016 at Great Basin National Park, Nevada.

Several key characteristics make these plants easy to identify. They feature smooth reddish-orange bark and small but thick evergreen leaves. In late winter and spring they produce dense clusters of nodding pink flowers.

grbamanzanita3

Manzanita photographed 05/19/2016 at Great Basin National Park, Nevada.

After insects pollinate the flowers they develop into small seed-bearing fruit. Manzanita is Spanish for “little apple,” something the ripe red berries resemble. The fruit of most species is not only edible but palatable, making it a desirable summer food source for a variety of animals including humans.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, National Parks, Organism Interactions, Random Plant and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s