Plant Data Sheet: Hairy manzanita Arctostaphylos columbiana




Hairy manzanita is found along the Coast Ranges from Sonoma County, California, north to Vancouver Island and Vancouver, British Columbia. The largest population is in southwestern Oregon. It prefers evergreen forested coastal plains from northern California through British Columbia (1).


Local occurrence

This plant is occasionally found on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington and Oregon (1).


Climate, elevation

Hairy mazanita grows at elevations up to 2,500 feet in California, 3,750 feet in Oregon and up to 4,950 feet in Washington (1).


Habitat preferences

Hairy manzanita is typically found in rocky areas and steep slopes. It prefers full sun, well-drained, acidic soil, and a southern or western exposure. It is highly drought tolerant (1,3).


Plant strategy type/successional stage

Often a primary or secondary colonizer of disturbed plant communities, hairy manzanita is commonly found in post-logging plant communities. Once established in such a situation, it will persist after forest establishment if the canopy is not too dense (1).


Associated species

Hairy manzanita is often found with other ericaceous plants such as huckleberry, salal and Pacific madrone. Other common species include Oregon grape (Mahonia spp.), snowbrush (Ceanothus spp.), vine maple (Acer circinatum), beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), various penstemon species, Oregon stonecrop (Sedum oregonese), and various fern species (1).


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Hairy manzanita may be propagated by seed, cuttings, layering, or salvaging. The fruit is small, 1/4 - 1/2 inches in diameter, and is smooth and red. It begins to ripen in late June and may stay on the plant until the following spring (1).


Collection restrictions or guidelines

Cuttings are best collected in March, September, October, or November (2).


Seed germination

Hairy manzanita requires fire to break seed dormancy and maximize germination. This can be simulated with a hot water bath. The procedure for a hot water bath is as follows: Boil 3-6 cups of water for every cup of seeds. Avoid using an aluminum pan or softened water, as either might introduce toxic chemicals to the seeds. After the water reaches boiling, let it cool for a minute or two. Pour the seeds into the water and let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours. The seeds may still need to over-winter or be cold-stratified before they will germinate (5). Other suggested methods include soaking dried seed in boiling water for 10 - 20 seconds or exposing to smoke and then stratifying at 2 - 5c for 2 months. The seeds will germinate in 2 - 3 months at 15c (4).


Seed life

Information on seed life is not available.


Recommended seed storage conditions

Information on seed storage conditions is not available.


Propagation recommendations

Recommended propagation is through basal cuttings (from the area close to the previous years wood, or the base of a long juvenile stem). The cuttings should be dipped in a rooting hormone. Stimroot #3 IBA is recommended. They can then be rooted in 1:1 perlite/peat moss media with bottom heat (2).


Soil or medium requirements

Cuttings should be propagated in a perlite/peat mixture (see above).


Installation form

Installation of plugs or containerized individuals is recommended.


Recommended planting density

Shrubs should be installed 3-5 feet on center, depending on desired density and expected mortality (3).


Care requirements after installation

While hairy manzanita is highly drought resistant, supplemental water after installation increases plant survival and establishment.


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Hairy manzanita grows quickly and can reach several feet in height (1).


Sources cited

(1) Hansen, W. Native Plants of the Northwest: Hairy manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana). Retrieved May 14, 2003.

(2) Malaspina University-College Horticulture Department. Abstract on Native Plant Propagation Collaborative Study. Retrieved May 14, 2003.


(3) Plants for a Future. Arctostaphylos columbiana. Retrieved May 14, 2003.


(4) Sound Native Plants. Retrieved May 14, 2003.


(5) Washington State University Cooperative Extension. Gardening in Western Washington. Retrieved May 14, 2003.


Data compiled by (student name and date)

Sarah Baker (May 14, 2003)