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Morro Manzanita
Arctostaphylos morroensis

About Morro Manzanita (Arctostaphylos morroensis) Arctostaphylos morroensis is a species endemic to California, where it is native to a very limited area of San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County, from the vicinity of Morro Bay to Santa Maria. It is a spreading shrub, reaching up to 4 meters in height but usually less, and generally staying wider than tall. It has shreddy red-gray bark and whiskery bristles on the smaller branches and twigs. The leaves are oval-shaped and slightly convex, dark green on the upper surface and duller gray-green beneath. Plentiful flowers hang in dense clusters on short pedicels during the winter months. They are usually very light pink, urn-shaped, and hairy inside. The fruits are fuzzy red drupes each about a centimeter wide. This is a plant of the sandy coastal cliffs and beach chaparral. It is listed as a Threatened Species on the federal level and is on CNPS list 1B.1. It is also cultivated as an ornamental.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6 - 13.1 ft (1.8 - 4 m)

Max. Width
16 ft (4.9 m)

Mounding, Spreading


Flower Color
Pink, Brown

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Dunes and adjacent sandy areas, decomposed granite

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
3' - 1179'

Annual Precip. ?
16.1" - 23.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.22" - 0.31"

Coldest Month ?
45.4° F - 49.6° F

Hottest Month ?
62.6° F - 71.2° F

Humidity ?
0.89 vpd - 16.72 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sand or sandstone

Soil Texture
Loamy Sand, Sand

Soil PH
4.0 - 6.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds and many insects are attracted to Manzanita flowers. The fruits are attractive by some birds and small mammals

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

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

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Prune to shape in dry weather to prevent infection

Propagation ?
Seed or cuttings

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

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

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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