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Articles: Manzanita

Peeling cinnamon bark of Arctostaphylos obispoensis. Photographs by Carol Bornstein
As you learn what you love in the plant world and begin to understand your desires as a gardener, you see structure, color, texture; you smell leaf and flower; you may see hummingbirds and butterflies dancing; you see movement. This can be an exquisite experience when observing plants in the wild. Hiking or walking in the natural world around you allows you to see what living things are rooted there—besides yourself.
Among the plants rooted in California is the genus Arctostaphylos, made up of evergreen shrubs commonly known by the Spanish folk name of manzanita or “little apple” for the small, round nutritious fruit beloved of bears, coyotes, foxes, quail, and other animals, including human beings. Californian native peoples made a refreshing seasonal cider from the berries, and manzanita jelly is cooked up to this day.

California is manzanita central. All but three of the ninety species found in the wild are endemic to California; a few species are found north into Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, east to the Roc...


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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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