Herb: Pointleaf Manzanita
Latin name: Arctostaphylos pungens
Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Medicinal use of Pointleaf Manzanita:An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. An infusion is also used in the treatment of the rash caused by poison oak, Toxicodendron diversiloba.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Gravelly soils in sunny places in the Chaparral.
Edible parts of Pointleaf Manzanita:Fruit - raw or cooked. An agreeable acid flavour but the fruit is dry and mealy. Hard to digest, the fruit should be eaten in moderation. It can be dried and ground into a powder and then used as mush or as a flavouring in soups etc. A cooling drink can be made from the fruit.
Other uses of the herb:A yellowish-brown dye is obtained from the leaves, it does not require a mordant. The wood makes a good fuel, producing a long-lasting hot fire. The hard wood has been used for making small tools, awl handles etc.
Propagation of Pointleaf Manzanita:Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak dried seed in boiling water for 10 - 20 seconds or burn some straw on top of them and then stratify at 2 - 5°C for 2 months. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 months at 15°C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of side shoots of the current season's growth, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August to December in a frame. The cuttings are very slow and can take a year to root. Division in early spring. Take care because the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and keep them in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away actively. Layering in spring.
Cultivation of the herb:Gravelly soils in sunny places in the Chaparral.
Known hazards of Arctostaphylos pungens:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.