California natives sometimes get a bad rap for looking “weedy,” but Manzanitas (the common name for the genus Arctostaphylos) are some of the tidiest plants around. With evergreen leaves, gorgeous red bark and tiny bell-shaped flowers, they belong in every garden.  The images below hint at the variety of forms manzanitas can take — small trees, mid-sized shrubs, and low groundcovers.

Many are flowering now, and their pink or white flowers are an important source of winter nectar for birds and butterflies in Southern California. Within a span of a few minutes, I saw an Anna’s Hummingbird, finches, native bees and a butterfly — all on one Eastman Manzanita pictured below!

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