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Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita)

A. pungens manzanita. Uva-ursi manzanita.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Arctostaphylos manzanita

A yellowish-brown dye is obtained from the leaves, it does not require a mordant[168].

The leaves can be boiled and the yellowish-red extract used as a cleansing body wash[257].

The wood makes an exceedingly fine fuel[257].

  • Medicinal Use

    A poultice of the chewed leaves is applied to sores and headaches[257]. The leaves are chewed as a treatment for stomach ache and cramps[257]. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat severe colds and diarrhoea[257].

    A cider made from the fruit is used in the treatment of stomach complaints and as an appetizer to create appetite[257].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[3, 46, 61]. An agreeable acid flavour but the fruit is dry and mealy[95]. Hard to digest, the fruit should be eaten in moderation[95]. It can be dried and ground into a powder[105, 161] and then used as a flavouring in soups, bread etc[213, 257]. A cooling drink can be made from the fruit[161]. The berries can be crushed to make a sweet, unfermented cider[257].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak dried seed in boiling water for 10 – 20 seconds or burn some straw on top of them and then stratify at 2 – 5¡c for 2 months[11, 200]. Another report says that the seed requires 60 days warm followed by 60 days cold stratification[160]. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 3 months at 15¡c[134]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of side shoots of the current season’s growth, 5 – 8cm with a heel, August to December in a frame. Takes one year[1, 78]. Division in early spring. Take care because the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and keep them in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away actively. Layering in spring[200].
Requires a deep moist well-drained light or medium lime-free loam in sun or semi-shade but plants produce less fruit when they are grown in the shade[200]. Prefers a warm sunny position[3, 166]. Tolerates maritime exposure[49, 166, 182]. Plants are not hardy in the colder parts of Britain, they tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10¡c[200]. Pollination is often poor in Britain[3]. Another report says that the plant does not fruit in this country[11]. This species is called A. pungens manzanita by some botanists[11]. A specimen seen at Cambridge B.G. was 2.5m tall in 1989[K]. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their final positions as soon as possible[11, 134].
South-western N. America – California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.