Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'
Vine Hill Manzanita
A. densiflora is a rare plant species endemic to Sonoma County. Only 20-30 plants still exist in the wild, currently on land owned and protected by the California Native Plant Society. The 'Howard McMinn' selection is widely used in landscaping due to its hardiness. It is a rounded, densely-branched shrub, 4 feet tall and 7 feet wide with leathery dark green leaves and an abundance of light-pink flower clusters. ‘Howard McMinn’ is long-lived, tolerant of pruning and will accept more water than most Manzanitas. This is one of the few Manzanitas which we have found grows very well in the Portola Valley and Los Altos areas.
Wildlife value: The word manzanita means “little apple”. Birds love to eat the berries. Hummingbirds sip nectar from the blossoms.
Other uses: Manzanita is prized for its many uses. The berries can be eaten raw or cooked and are known to quench thirst (if you happen to find yourself in the wild without a canteen). The berries, leaves, and smooth mahogany-colored wood have all been used as food, medicine, and for tools.