Arctostaphylos pumila

Sandmat Manzanita

This rare native of the Monterey Bay area makes an excellent groundcover for sandy areas near the coast. It grows 2 to 3 feet high and tends to be more flat than upright. It has shredding bark and pinkish new leaves which turn a silvery green as they age. Small clusters of pinkish-white flowers appear from late winter to mid-spring. This is an excellent choice for coastal gardens. Plant it in full sun on the coast or in partial shade inland.

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.