Manzanita Facts

Manzanita Facts
Manzanita is an evergreen plant that belongs to the heather family. There are more than 100 species of manzanita that can be found in Mediterranean region (Europe) and across North America. Manzanita grows on the mountains, rocky hillsides and chaparral. It prefers loose, well-drained, acidic soil and areas that provide enough sun. Certain species of manzanita, such as Presidio manzanita, are extremely rare in the wild (only few trees can be found on the entire planet). Most of these critically endangered species of manzanita have been already cloned. People cultivate manzanita as a source of food and in decorative purposes.
Interesting Manzanita Facts:
Manzanita can grow in the form of shrub or small tree with rounded crown. It can reach 4 to 20 feet in height, depending on the species.
Manzanita has unusually-twisted branches covered with smooth, red bark that is rich in tannins (group of bitter-tasting compounds). Red and grey-colored (dead) branches can be often seen at the same time on the tree.
Manzanita produces small, roundish or oval, yellowish-green leaves with short petioles.
Manzanita produces white or pink, urn-shaped flowers. They are arranged in multi-branched inflorescences (panicles) at the end of the branches.
Manzanita blooms from April to June. Flowers attract bees and hummingbirds, main pollinators of this plant.
Fruit of manzanita is apple-shaped berry. Fruit is smooth and brownish on the surface. It has mealy pulp and few seed covered with tough coat.
Manzanita can be propagated via seed and cuttings (less demanding process).
Seed germinates only after scarification (mechanical damage) of the outer layer, which usually happens with a help of fire in the wild.
Name "manzanita" originates from Spanish language. It means "small apple".
Manzanita represents important source of food for bears, deer and birds. These animals facilitate dispersal of seed.
Both fruit and flowers of manzanita are edible. Fruit is used for the preparation of cider-like beverage.
Native Americans used leaves and bark of manzanita in treatment of skin injuries (such as cuts and burns). Infusion made of bark can be also used to relieve nausea. Tea made of fresh berries can be used in treatment of poison oak rash.
Manzanita has very dense wood which is popular and often used as a firewood. It can be also used for the manufacture of pipes. Branches of manzanita trees are used in the manufacture of lamp stands.
Dry, dead branches of manzanita are often used for decoration of aquariums because they do not rot in the water. Twisted branches are also popular in bird cages. Most birds like to climb and hop along smooth, odd-looking branches of manzanita.
Manzanita is perennial plant that can survive more than 100 years under optimal environmental conditions.

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