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Big Berry Manzanita
Arctostaphylos glauca

About Big Berry Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca) Arctostaphylos glauca is a species of manzanita known by the common name bigberry manzanita. It is native to California and Baja California, where it grows in the chaparral and woodland of coastal and inland hills. This is a large shrub to small tree varying in size from one to well over six meters in height and is not burl forming. Individuals growing in desert regions tend to be shorter than those on the coast. Leaves are light gray-green, somewhat waxy, oval in shape to nearly round, and smooth or toothed along the edges. They are up to five centimeters long and four wide and grow on short petioles about a centimeter long. The flower cluster holds hanging clusters of narrow urn-shaped white flowers. The edible fruit, the largest of any Manzanita, is a round or egg-shaped drupe 12 to 15 millimeters wide. It is light red in color and has a thick pulp covered in a tough, sticky coat. The fruit contains three to six nutlets fused into a single mass. The shrub reproduces by seed and by layering. Seeds require exposure to fire before they can germinate, and seedlings often appear in profusion after a fire. It is a long-lived species, reaching 100 years of age or more, and it does not begin to fruit until it is around 20 years old.

Best to plant bigberry manzanitas on rocky slopes. In drier parts of it's range, this plant does better on north facing slopes or near creeks or irrigated areas, or in partly shaded spots. Best to always avoid south facing slopes. Bigberry manzanita will also usually do better if planted near larger rocks, or at least with rocks placed around it. After the first year, direct summer water will often kill this plant.

In its native range, this is one of the easier manzanita species to grow in California. Can still be tough in the driest areas at the edge of its range, particularly in southern California.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.3 - 20 ft (1 - 6.1 m)

Max. Width
6 - 20 ft (1.8 - 6.1 m)

Upright, Upright Columnar


Growth Rate
Moderate, Slow


Flower Color
White, Pink

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky chaparral slopes, well-drained flats of the coast and inland to the Coast Ranges, desert transition, and Joshua Tree Woodland, usually below 4,500 ft., with scattered locations in the Central Valley and Sierra foothills.


Elevation ?
24' - 9849'

Annual Precip. ?
5.3" - 52.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.18"

Coldest Month ?
31.9° F - 56.4° F

Hottest Month ?
53.1° F - 84.5° F

Humidity ?
0.45 vpd - 36.25 vpd

Soil Description
Can tolerate heavy soil on slopes but does best in well drained soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil, Tolerates Sodic Soil

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Sunset Zones ?
7, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Wildlife Attracted
Insects (bees, butterflies) and hummingbirds 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

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Pest Control
May be susceptible to leaf galls but these usually do not cause long term damage and do not usually require action

Propagation ?
By seed or layering.  For propagating by seed: Soak in concentrated H2SO4. for 6-15 hrs. ( USDA Forest Service 1974). For the acid treatment, single nutlets and stone pieces (often without embryos) and entire stones should be treated separately, as they require different amounts of time in acid (Giersback 1937) For all species an alternate method is fire treatment in fall, this gives germination by spring. More easily propogated from tip cuttings in winter using bottom heat.

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Hummingbird Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Big-berry Manzanita, Bigberry 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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