The botanical highlight of our recent visit to my parents-in-law in Mount Shasta was seeing the manzanitas in bloom. In Mount Shasta manzanitas are everywhere. I don’t think many homeowners plant them; they’re just part of the natural landscape.
With their evergreen leaves and their contorted trunks and branches, which vary from a rich reddish brown to a purplish black, manzanitas are attractive year round. In the spring, however, their beauty peaks when bell-shaped flowers ranging from white to pink erupt in dense clusters.
There are more than 60 different manzanita species, grouped in the genus Arctostaphylos. The variety shown in this post is greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula), the most common upright species in the mountains of Northern California.