A magnificent shrub, the handsomest in the West, from three to fifteen feet high, with a grayish trunk and fine, evergreen foliage. The leaves are from three to ten inches long, rich-green and leathery, smooth but not shiny, paler on the under side, spreading out around the large flower-clusters, so as to set them off to great advantage, and the flowers are over two inches across, scentless, with small, pale sepals and pink corollas, almost white at the base and shading to deep pink at the edges, which are prettily ruffled. The upper petal is freckled with golden-brown, or greenish spots and arrow-shaped markings, the pistil is crimson and the stamens, with pale pink filaments and pale yellow anthers, curve in, like little serpents' heads. The coloring of the flower clusters, mixed with the crimson-tipped buds, is a combination of delicate and brilliant tints and in such places as the redwood forests, along the Noyo River in California, where the shrub develops into a small tree, the huge clusters, glowing high above us among the dark forest trees, are a wonderful sight. This is the "State flower" of Washington.
There are a good many kinds of Arctostaphylos, mostly western; evergreen shrubs, with very crooked branches; smooth, dark red or brown bark; alternate leaves, and usually nodding, white or pink flowers, with bracted pedicels, in terminal clusters, the parts usually in fives; the corolla urn-shaped; the stamens usually ten, not protruding, the filaments hairy; the ovary raised on a disk on the receptacle; the fruit berry-like, several nutlets surrounded by soft pulp. The leaves, by a twisting of their stalks, assume a vertical position on the branches, a habit which enables many plants of dry regions to avoid unnecessary evaporation. These shrubs are often very abundant and with Chaparral Pea, Buck Brush, Scrub Oak, etc., form the extensive brush thickets known as chaparral, so characteristic of the western mountain scenery. The Greek name means "bear-berry," as bears are fond of the berries, and Manzanita is from the Spanish for "little apple," as the fruits often resemble tiny apples. They are dry but pleasantly acid and are popular with Indians, bears, and chipmunks, and jelly can be made from them. The largest Manzanita tree known is one in Napa County, California, thirty-five feet high and as large across.
California Rose Bay -Rhododendron Californicum HEATH FAMILY. Ericaceae.