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Serpentine Manzanita Back to Plant Page
Arctostaphylos obispoensis

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About Serpentine Manzanita (Arctostaphylos obispoensis) Arctostaphylos obispoensis is a rare species in the Ericaceae (Heath) family known by the common names Serpentine Manzanita and Bishop Manzanita. It is endemic to California, where it is known only from the southern Santa Lucia Mountains of Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties. For this reason it is included in CNPS list 4.3. It grows in the woodlands and forests of the coastal range, usually on serpentine soil. This is a shrub growing to a height of at least a meter, but known to sprawl to over four meters in height. The small branches and newer leaves are woolly. The mature leaves are hairless and oblong to widely lance-shaped and up to 4.5 centimeters long. The flower cluster is a dense cluster of urn-shaped manzanita flowers. The fruit is a waxy drupe at least a centimeter wide. Despite its rarity, it is a fairly easy plant to grow and good for the central coast.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.3 - 13 ft (1 - 4 m)

Max. Width
10 ft (3.0 m)


Growth Rate


Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky coastal areas, usually with serpentine soils

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
22' - 4636'

Annual Precip. ?
13.1" - 45.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 1.33"

Coldest Month ?
41.6° F - 50.6° F

Hottest Month ?
63.9° F - 77.0° F

Humidity ?
0.84 vpd - 24.05 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils but prefers serpentine derived soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 20° F

Companion Plants
Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds and various insects are attracted to the flowers. Other birds are attracted to the fruits.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Rarely Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Common uses
Butterfly Gardens, Bird Gardens, Hummingbird Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
Bishop Manzanita

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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