Arbutus madrono Humb. ex Kunth
Arbutus myrtifolia Willd. ex Steud.
Arbutus nuda Steud.
Arbutus rigida Willd. ex Steud.
Arbutus tomentosa nuda Hook.
Arctostaphylos chaloneorum Roof
Arctostaphylos cratericola (Donn.Sm.) Donn.Sm.
Arctostaphylos glauca S.Watson
Arctostaphylos pseudopungens Roof
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi cratericola (Donn.Sm.) P.V.Wells
Daphnidostaphylis pungens (Kunth) Klotzsch
Uva-ursi cratericola (Donn.Sm.) Abrams
Uva-ursi pungens (Kunth) Abrams
Common Name: Pointleaf Manzanita
Ripe fruit on a plant in Red Rock Canyon, southern Nevada, USA
Photograph by: Stan Shebs
Arctostaphylos pungens is an evergreen, erect shrub growing 1 - 3 metres tall[
]. The root system is shallow and fibrous except in sandy soils, where taproots are usually well developed[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials
Southwestern N. America - California to Utah, south to Mexico and Texas
Gravelly soils in sunny places in the Chaparral[
]. Open pine forests, pinyon-juniper woodlands, chaparral; at elevations from 300 - 2,600 metres[
]. Often found in dense stands that suppress the growth of other plants[
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Arctostaphylos pungens is found in two distinct climatic patterns. The climate in the desert southwest follows a bimodal distribution with nearly equal amounts of precipitation in winter and summer, while drought is common during autumn and spring. Storm systems bring rain and snow in the winter, while monsoons bring thunderstorms in summer. In contrast, the climate in California is considered Mediterranean, where winters are mild and summers are hot; 80% of the annual total precipitation occurs in the autumn, winter, and spring from Pacific storms; and summer droughts are common. The mean annual precipitation throughout the plants range can vary from 250 - 800mm[
Requires a deep moist well-drained light or medium lime-free loam in sun or semi-shade[
], but plants produce less fruit when they are grown in the shade[
]. The plant is found in the wild on dry rocky slopes and mesas - the soils are usually gravelly sandy loams derived from granitic parent materials that are poorly developed, unstable, and coarse, the pH is generally acidic[
The seed remains viable in the soil for decades, only germinating after fire has broken down its seedcoat[
This species is closely related to Arctostaphylos manzanita[
The plant hybridizes in the wild with Arctostaphylos glauca[
Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their final positions as soon as possible[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. An agreeable acid flavour but the fruit is dry and mealy[
]. Hard to digest, the fruit should be eaten in moderation[
]. It can be dried and ground into a powder and then used as mush or as a flavouring in soups etc[
]. A cooling drink can be made from the fruit[
]. The globose fruit is 5 - 8mm in diameter[
An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[
]. An infusion is also used in the treatment of the rash caused by poison oak, Toxicodendron diversiloba[
A yellowish-brown dye is obtained from the leaves, it does not require a mordant[
The hard wood has been used for making small tools, awl handles etc[
The wood makes a good fuel, producing a long-lasting hot fire[
Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Arctostaphylos seeds, especially if not sown fresh, are generally stimulated into germinating by one of two methods. The most effective is fire passing quickly over seeds that are lying dormant in the soil - this breaks down their surface coat allowing them to imbibe moisture when it next rains and then germinate. Alternatively, stomach acids act upon the seed coat when the fruit is eaten by various animals - the seed frequently passes through the gut unharmed and is deposited in a convenient pile of nutrients when the animal defecates - the seed will often still benefit from a period of winter cold before germinating in the spring. Both of these methods can be somewhat reproduced by the gardener - the seed can be placed under some straw which is then set alight - both seeds and ashes should be sown. Alternatively, pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water will have somewhat the same effect as stomach acids. Follow this treatment with a cold stratification at 2 - 5°c for 2 months[
]. The seed will then usually germinate in 2 - 3 months at 15°c[
]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots, being very careful no to damage the roots, and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first winter, Plant out in late spring or early summer.
The seed remains viable in the soil for decades[
Cuttings of side shoots of the current season's growth, 5 - 8cm with a heel, late summer to early winter in a frame. The cuttings are very slow and can take a year to root[
Division in early spring. Take care because the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and keep them in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away actively.
Layering in spring[