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Arctostaphylos spp. Near Grover Hot Springs, Sierra Nevada, California, USA. Manzanita is an abundant and distinctive shrub of the Sierra and nearby ranges, with its red, peeling bark, smooth dark leaves, and twisting, tangled branches. Manzanita ground cover can be nearly impassible! The name is a diminuitive of manzana, "apple" in Spanish, and comes from its red berries. The berries are a favorite with bears--you have to be bear aware when they're ripe! It's also pretty oily and can make for bad wildfires in dry conditions.