Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Arctostaphylos glauca


SPECIES: Arctostaphylos glauca
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Howard, Janet L. 1993. Arctostaphylos glauca. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ARCGLU SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : ARGL4 COMMON NAMES : bigberry manzanita great-berried manzanita TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of bigberry manzanita is Arctostaphylos glauca Lindl. [6,39,48]. Recognized varieties and forms are as follows: A. glauca var. puberula J. T. Howell [39] A. glauca var. glauca A. glauca forma eremicola (Jeps.) Wells [48] (formerly A. glauca var. eremicola Jeps.) [39] Arctostaphylos glauca var. puberula is distinguished by pubescent branchlets; branchlets of the typical variety are glabrous [39]. Arctostaphylos glauca forma eremicola is a decumbent form of bigberry manzanita [48]. Bigberry manzanita may hybridize with pointleaf manzanita (A. pungens) and Eastwood manzanita (A. glandulosa) [24,25]. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Arctostaphylos glauca
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Bigberry manzanita is distributed from Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, California south through the South Coast, Transverse, and Peninsular ranges and interior regions of the Sierra Juarez and Sierra San Pedro Martir to central Baja California [6,37,52]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper STATES : CA MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 3 Southern Pacific Border KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K033 Chaparral SAF COVER TYPES : 239 Pinyon - juniper 255 California coast live oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Bigberry manzanita occurs in four communities of the chaparral formation: manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), mixed, and desert chaparral [18,20,37,52]. It is usually not a dominant chaparral species except in mixed chaparral of the San Gabriel and San Bernadino mountains [37]. It occasionally forms dense, pure stands or codominates with Eastwood manzanita in manzanita chaparral [14]. Bigberry manzanita also occurs in singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla)-Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) communities bordering the Sonora and Mojave deserts [52]. Bigberry manzanita associates by plant community are as follows: Chamise chaparral associates include chamise, Eastwood manzanita, white sage (Salvia apiana), black sage (S. mellifera), California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), California scrub oak (Quercus dumosa), sugarbush (Rhus ovata), and laurel sumac (Malosma laurina) [40]. Mixed chaparral associates are chamise, hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), chaparral whitethorn (C. leucodermis), Eastwood manzanita, California scrub oak, and interior live oak (Q. wislizenii) [37]. Desert chaparral associates include turbinella oak (Quercus turbinella), Dunn oak (Q. dunnii), birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), desert ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), redberry (Rhamnus crocea), and hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) [37]. Pinyon-juniper woodland associates are singleleaf pinyon, Utah juniper, turbinella oak, canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis), California buckwheat, and narrowleaf goldenbush (Haplopappus linearifolius) [52]. Herbaceous fire-followers common to the above plant communities include golden yarrow (Convolvulus occidentalis), common deerweed (Lotus scoparius), foxtail brome (Bromus rubens), and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) [21]. Publications describing plant communities dominated or codominated by bigberry manzanita are as follows: Vegetation and floristics of Pinnacles National Monument [12] Chaparral [14] Terrestrial natural communities of California [18] Vegetation types of the San Bernadino Mountains [20]


SPECIES: Arctostaphylos glauca
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Birds, rodents, and coyote eat bigberry manzanita fruits and various seed-eating rodents consume the seeds [22,26,28]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Bigberry manzanita is of value for rehabilitation of disturbed watersheds because the widespreading roots bind surface layers of soil [17]. Plants can be established from stem cuttings or from seed. Seeds require mechanical scarification or immersion in sulfuric acid for 6 to 15 hours to break seedcoat dormancy. Seeds should be sown in the fall, and cuttings planted in the spring [1,44]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Bigberry manzanita is valued for native ornamental landscaping because it is resistant to heat, drought, and cold [1,44]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Bigberry manzanita leaves and litter contain toxic amounts of arbutin and phenolic acids [50]. These compounds allelopathically inhibit germination and growth of annuals for a distance of 3.3 to 6.6 feet (1-2 m) from the edge of the canopy drip line [38]. Bigberry manzanita is susceptible to the fungus Botrysphaeria, which spots leaves and kills branches [44].


SPECIES: Arctostaphylos glauca
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Bigberry manzanita is a native, evergreen, sclerophyllous shrub 3.3 to 19.8 feet (1-6 m) in height [39]. In coastal regions plants are upright, sometimes arborescent, with a rounded to irregular crown. Both varieties display this growth form. On desert borders plants are low, compact, and spreading; this is the habit of A. glauca forma eremicola [39,52]. Bigberry manzanita is distinguished from other manzanitas by its large, viscid fruits containing three to six nutlets fused to form a single large stone [26,52]. Unlike some manzanitas, this species does not have a lignotuber [23]. It is shallow-rooted [36]. The root habit is radially spreading, with coarse lateral roots exceeding the length of vertical roots [33]. Bigberry manzanita can live more than 100 years [30]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sexual: Bigberry manzanita begins abundant sexual reproduction at approximately age 20 [19]. Fifty-nine percent of filled seed collected at widely separated locations was viable [31]. Fruit and seed production increases with age. Keeley and Keeley [29] found that 90-year-old bigberry manzanita stands in San Diego County yielded over 15 times more fruits than did 23-year-old stands. Soil-stored propagules* germinate following fire scarification of the stone [38]. One propagule usually outcompetes the others, resulting in establishment of one seedling per seed. Seedlings do not compete well with annuals or sprouting species [8,30] but generally establish in greater numbers than other obligate seeders. Its large seed apparently gives this species a competitive advantage over other obligate seeders [30]. Seedling mortality is high: most seedlings are outcompeted or die from summer drought. Surviving seedlings grow rapidly, and mortality of adult plants is extremely low until the next fire [13]. *Since several bigberry manzanita nutlets are fused into a single stone, some ecologists refer to the stones as "seed" and the individual nutlets as "propagules" [26]. The terms "seed" and "propagule" will be so used in this paper. Vegetative: Bigberry manzanita can reproduce by layering, although plants in coastal populations rarely do so because of their upright growth form [1,52]. Decumbent, desert-edge populations, however, reproduce primarily by layering; sexual reproduction in these populations is sparse [52]. Bigberry manzanita will grow epicormic sprouts following minor stem damage [43]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Bigberry manzanita grows in a mediterranean-type climate, with hot, dry summers and wet, mild winters. Santa Ana foehn winds blow over mountains from deserts in late summer and fall [15,40]. Bigberry manzanita grows in soils derived from granite, limestone, quartz diorite, or serpentine and that range in texture from sandy loam with considerable coarse fragment to loam [11,16,17,21,41,46]. Bigberry manzanita has no statistically significant association with aspect or degree of slope [13]. Populations in the Sierra San Pedro Martir are restricted to sites bordering water courses [37]. Bigberry manzanita grows at elevations below 4,500 feet (1,372 m) [39]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Bigberry manzanita colonizes from seed in postfire plant communities and remains a component of the community through climax [13]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Flora primordia develop in late spring of the year prior to flowering. Bigberry manzanita flowers from mid-February to mid-March in chaparral and from mid-February to early April in pinyon-juniper woodlands. Plants flower sporadically after these times, but later flowers do not set fruit. Fruit ripens from late February to mid-May in chaparral and from late February through May in pinyon-juniper woodlands. Seeds are dispersed in late summer. Germination occurs from mid-March to mid-April following fire scarification of seed [1,9,26,52].


SPECIES: Arctostaphylos glauca
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Adaptations: Bigberry manzanita is an obligate postfire seeder [37,38,51]. It is best adapted to high-intensity, long-interval (100+ years) fires [19,28,29]. Long periods between fires allow plants to reach arborescent proportions, appropriating a large amount of space and holding it until fire [30]. The greatly increased seed production of older shrubs helps assure that large numbers of seed will break dormancy when fire occurs [29]. Fuels accumulated over a 100-year time span result in a high-intensity fire, which is probably most effective in cracking the hard seedcoat of this species [8]. High-intensity fire also results in higher mortality rates of sprouting species, therefore reducing competition [3]. Southern California chaparral undergoes both short and long intervals between fire, with longer fire intervals favoring bigberry manzanita. Frequency of lightning-ignited fire in California decreases greatly from north to south and from high elevation to low elevation. Natural fire frequency in low-elevation southern California chaparral is therefore more irregular than in more northerly or higher elevation chaparral, where lightning-ignited fires are frequent [30,32]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Arctostaphylos glauca
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire kills bigberry manzanita [3,9,21,30]. High-intensity fire may kill some seed, but merely cracks the seedcoat of most seeds without harming propagules [14]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Chaparral Populations: Bigberry manzanita propagules germinate during the first postfire growing season [4]. Keeley and Zedler [30] reported a live seedling density of 280 per acre (700/ha) at postfire year 2 following the Laguna Fire in San Diego County. Fifty-five percent of all seedlings observed at that time were dead. Seedlings grow rapidly when environmental conditions are favorable. Plants on the San Dimas Experimental Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains attained heights of 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m) by postfire year 3 [49]. Bigberry manzanita on the Barranca Canyon Burn near San Bernadino, California grew more slowly, probably because precipitation was below normal during most of the first postfire decade. These plants were 1 inch (2.5 cm) in height at postfire year 1 and 15.5 inches (39.4 cm) in height at postfire year 10. Average height at postfire year 25 was 3 feet (1 m). Many seedlings died during a 5-year drought that began at postfire year 20 [21]. Keeley [26] reported that for plants beyond seedling size, mortality is generally low for the first few postfire decades. Hanes [13] stated that by postfire year 20, bigberry manzanita has attained maximum population size. By the third and fourth postfire decades populations decrease in numbers but increase in canopy cover by growth of remaining shrubs. Desert-edge Populations: Seedling establishment in chaparral desert or pinyon-juniper woodland is typically lacking or sparse following fire. No seedling recruitment occurred following a wildfire in chaparral desert of Anza-Borrego State Park. Desert populations, which primarily reproduce vegetatively, may depend upon plants in adjacent unburned areas as important sources for postfire seed dispersal [45]. Bigberry manzanita seedling recruitment in such communities is thusly dependent upon animal seed dispersal followed by fire. Fires are infrequent in such communities, occurring approximately every 100 years [37,52]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Bigberry manzanita populations are destroyed by repeated short-interval fires [5]. Bigberry manzanita has been eliminated from areas of the San Dimas Experimental Forest subjected to burning at 15-year intervals [43]. With the present man-made fire cycle of 20 to 30 years, bigberry manzanita is expected to regenerate, but over long periods of time sprouting species may gain an advantage [30]. Fire in summer or fall, with the wet season still to come, favors bigberry manzanita seedling establishment over mid- to late-spring burning because in the latter case, summer drought occurs soon after burning [9]. Twenty percent of bigberry manzanita fuels in mixed chaparral of Camp Pendelton, San Diego County were dead prior to a May 15 prescribed fire. During the fire, temperatures of 1,250 degrees Fahrenheit (676 deg C) were recorded 31 inches (79 cm) above the soil surface. All dead and desiccated fine bigberry manzanita fuels were consumed, and 75 percent of green fuels were consumed [11].


SPECIES: Arctostaphylos glauca
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