Manzanitas of the San Gabriel Mountains

Botanical Wonders of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Manzanitas are most commonly found across the Angeles National Forest on south-facing slopes where they are restricted to various mineral soils (most often granites). A. glandulosa appears in the front range from ~2,000-5,000 feet, A. patula in the higher elevations above ~7,000, A. parryana on the north slopes toward the Mojave from ~5,000-7,500, and A. glauca is common across the range but mostly on the north slopes adjacent to the Mojave from ~4,000-6,000. I never found Arctostaphylos pungens but it is within the range according to various sources.

What follows is a photographic journey through the San Gabriel Mountains to enjoy the spectacular places manzanitas grow.

Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. gabrielensis decorate the beginning of the Devil’s Canyon trail near Chilao Flat.

Enjoying the cool, smooth bark of Arctostaphylos glauca.
Arctostaphylos glauca and Pseudostuga macrocarpa along Big Rock Canyon, near the Mojave Desert.
Arctostaphylos parryana subsp. parryana along the Burkhart Trail in the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness. This species is much more common in the San Gabriels than our maps in the first edition indicate.
Arctostaphylos patula along Blue Ridge with views to Pine Mountain and Mount Baldy.
Suggested destinations to enjoy manzanitas in Southern California -- from Field Guide to Manzanitas by Backcountry Press.
Suggested destinations to enjoy manzanitas in Southern California — from Field Guide to Manzanitas by Backcountry Press.
Share the gift of native plants this holiday season!

Arctostaphylos species in Los Angeles County (* denotes county endemic)

  1. catalinae*
  2. glandulosa subsp. glandulosa
  3. glandulosa subsp. cushingiana
  4. glandulosa subsp. mollis
  5. glandulosa subsp. gabrielensis
  6. glauca
  7. parryana subsp. parryana
  8. parryana subsp. tumescens
  9. pungens
  10. patula

4 Replies to “Manzanitas of the San Gabriel Mountains”

  1. Quality reading & inspiration for many future explorations, thanks! That Mohave slope of the San Gabriels / eastern Transverse ranges is especially interesting. I seem to recall Pinus sabiniana at its southernmost extent there? Perhaps mixing with A. glauca & P. macrocarpa (& maybe even pinyon/juniper?)

    1. Thanks Mike- You sure are keen with your conifer biogeography! I was also fascinated by the Pinus sabiniana at the southern extent of the range. That north slope adjacent to the Mojave is exceptionally botanically interesting — where the California Floristic Province ends and the desert begins.

  2. Interesting to hear about your findings on broader distribution of A. parryana in the San Gabriel Mtns than previously documented. Hope we can get some more field data to better understand its ecological amplitude, as we’ve also found stands of this manzanita in the San Emigdio Mtns.

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