Arctostaphylos manzanita is endemic to California, where it can be found in the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada foothills. It is common on chaparral slopes and low-elevation coniferous forest ecosystems.One of many species of manzanita, Arctostaphylos manzanita has the common names Common manzanita and Whiteleaf manzanita.
The Arctostaphylos manzanita leaves are bright shiny green, wedge-shaped and pointed. The small white flowers, only a quarter inch long, are cup-shaped and hang upside down. The fruits are berries which are white when new and turn red-brown as the summer wears on. The bark on the long, crooked branches is reddish, making the shrub easily identifiable as a manzanita. It grows into a twisted tree about 15 feet tall.
Like other manzanitas, this species has a hard, attractive wood that has proved useful for making tools and as firewood. The fruit is edible and has a pleasant tartness, but it causes gastrointestinal upset if eaten in large quantities. It has historically been brewed into a cider.
There are several subspecies: