Manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula)
Other Names: Greenleaf manzanita
Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Description: may grow up to 3 ft tall. Stems are twisted and reddish in appearance. Bright green, oval-shaped leaves are oval-shaped and may grow up to 6 cm long and 4 cm wide. Leaves appear stand up vertically. Droopy clusters of light pink flowers are borne in the spring, with dark brown fruit appearing later.
Range: occurs throughout the western United States from California to Colorado, north to Montana, and south to New Mexico and Arizona. Is not common at Colorado National Monument because it prefers higher elevations.
Did you know: like the famous lodgepole pine of the Yellowstone area, manzanita may depend on fire to propagate efficiently. Because the seeds of this hardy shrub are encased in an extremely hard outer covering, it is difficult for the young manzanita plant to grow. Natural germination and establishment of young plants is therefore sporadic. Fires crack the seed's hard covering, which makes it easier for the young plant to break through the seed covering and establish itself.