SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens
Choose from the following categories of information.
T. Beth Kinsey, Wildflowers of Tucson
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)
Pointleaf manzanita is found in the understory of pinyon-juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands in southwestern New Mexico. This cover type is typical of low to mid-slopes on eastern exposures at elevations from 6,365 to 7,875 feet (1,940-2,400 m) elevation. Dominant trees in this type include Colorado pinyon (P. edulis), Mexican pinyon, singleleaf pinyon (P. monophylla), alligator juniper, Utah juniper (J. osteosperma), birchleaf mountain-mahogany, gray oak (Q. grisea), and shrub live oak. Graminoid associates include blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), pine muhly (M. dubia), and common wolfstail (Lycurus phleoides) [47,74,104].
Pointleaf manzanita is a common shrub in Arizona and New Mexico's interior chaparral. This vegetation type, found along the Mogollon Rim, is dominated by shrubs and small trees. Shrub associates include Pringle manzanita, sugar sumac, skunkbush sumac, smooth sumac (R. glabra), deer brush (C. integerrimus), Mojave ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii var. vestitus), Mohave buckbrush (C. g. var. perplexans), redberry buckthorn (Rhamnus crocea), Wright silktassel, wait-a-minute, narrowleaf yerba santa (Eriodictyon angustifolium), and sacahuista. Shrubby tree associates may include shrub live oak, Nuttall's scrub oak (Q. dumosa), curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), and hairy mountain-mahogany (C. montanus var. paucidentatus). Larger trees such as Chihuahua pine, interior ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. scopulorum), border pinyon (P. discolor), alligator juniper, Emory oak, silverleaf oak, and Arizona white oak may have scattered occurrences. Important grasses include lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), Orcutt's threeawn (Aristida schiedeana var. orcuttiana), and bull muhly (M. emersleyi) [18,24,44,51,63,67,69,84].
The most diverse community where pointleaf manzanita occurs is the montane chaparral of the higher-elevation Coastal Ranges of northern, central, and southern California, the Transverse and Peninsular ranges of southern California, and the Sierra San Pedro Mártir of northern Baja California. Characteristic species that associate with pointleaf manzanita in montane chaparral include whiteleaf manzanita, bigberry manzanita (A. glauca), yerba santa (E. californicum), eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), wedgeleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus cuneatus), California buckthorn (Frangula californica ssp. cuspidata), common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), birchleaf mountain-mahogany, thickleaf yerba santa (E. crassifolium), flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum), California coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica), and yellowleaf silktassel (G. flavescens) [2,27,40,59,71]. Tecate cypress (Cupressus forbesii) may associate in southern California and northern Baja California . Montane chaparral often succeeds to Jeffrey pine (P. jeffreyi), Coulter pine (P. coulteri), and Pacific ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. ponderosa), and/or California black oak (Q. kelloggii) [2,27,40,59,71].
Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) chaparral is the most common type of chaparral in California, occurring in the North and Central Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada foothills, southern California, and northern Baja California. Whiteleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida) may codominate with chamise on some sites. Pointleaf manzanita and other associated species are infrequently in this type. Associated shrubs include Nuttall's scrub oak, laurel sumac (Malosma laurina), white sage, (Salvia mellifera), black sage (S. apiana), sugar sumac, and eastern Mojave buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum). Giant wildrye (Leymus condensatus) is a common grass associate [43,73].
Pointleaf manzanita is found in the understory of oak woodlands of the lower-elevation Coastal Ranges of northern, central, and southern California, the Transverse and Peninsular ranges of southern California, and the Sierra San Pedro Mártir of northern Baja California. Oak woodlands vary in structure from open savanna to dense woodland with a shrubby understory. They merge or form a mosaic with annual grassland at low elevations and with montane chaparral at higher elevations. Overstory associates include valley oak (Q. lobata), coast live oak (Q. agrifolia), interior live oak (Q. wislizenii), California shrub live oak (Q. turbinella var. californica), leather oak (Q. durata), canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis), blue oak (Q. douglasii), California black oak, Coulter pine, gray pine (P. sabiniana), and California buckeye (Aesculus californica). Common shrub associates include wedgeleaf ceanothus, coffeeberry, chamise, poison-oak, and toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Some common ground cover associates are annual bluegrass (Poa annua), annual fescues (Vulpia spp.), annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), ripgut brome (Bromus rubens), wild oat (Avena fatua), and bur clover (Medicago polymorpha) [9,39].
Classifications describing plant communities in which pointleaf manzanita is a dominant species are as follows:Arizona [3,14,18,31,44,58,82]
T. Beth Kinsey, Wildflowers of Tucson
Pointleaf manzanita is an erect large round evergreen shrub that reaches 3 to 10 feet (1-3 m) in height. The bark is smooth. Leaves are covered with fine hairs and are thick, leathery, and oval shaped. The inflorescence is a raceme of perfect, urn-shaped, terminal flowers, 6 mm long. The fruit is a round berry, 5-8 mm in diameter, containing 1 to several seeds [46,51,66,89,104,106]. The root system of pointleaf manzanita is shallow and fibrous except in sandy soils, where taproots are usually well developed. Aboveground biomass is generally nearly double the biomass of belowground parts .
Stand structure: In interior chaparral pointleaf manzanita often occurs in dense stands that often exceed 70% crown cover. The density of these stands suppresses the growth of forbs and grasses in the understory except in scattered openings or on rocky outcrops [50,84]. However, frequency and percent cover of pointleaf manzanita vary among plant communities. The following table presents frequency of occurrence and percent cover of pointleaf manzanita in several vegetation types of central Arizona :
|Frequency (% )||Mean Cover (%)|
|Pointleaf manzanita chaparral||100.0||54.5|
|Shrub live oak-datil yucca-yellowleaf silktassel||85.7||3.0|
|Shrub live oak-mixed shrub||50.0||3.0|
|Pringle manzanita chaparral||46.2||1.9|
|Arizona cypress-shrub live oak||50.0||1.4|
|Arizona oak-yellowleaf silktassel-Emory oak||50.0||0.9|
|Shrub live oak-birchleaf mountain-mahogany||14.3||0.7|
|Yerba santa-desert ceanothus chaparral||50.0||0.6|
Breeding system: Pointleaf manzanita is monoecious .
Pollination is insect mediated .
Seed production: Pointleaf manzanita produces "prolific" or "many" seeds [62,84]. Quantitative measurements of seed crops are not available as of this writing (2005).
Seed dispersal: No information is available on this topic.
Seed banking: Pointleaf manzanita seeds remain viable in the soil for decades [18,84,86].
Germination of pointleaf manzanita is stimulated by scarification of seed by fire [18,23,34,85].
Seedling establishment/growth: Pointleaf manzanita is widely considered an "obligate seeder" or "fire-recruiter." Regeneration depends almost entirely on germination from seed after fire [19,84,85,103]. During the spring after burning, varying numbers of pointleaf manzanita seedlings appear. High mortality rates are common the 1st year after seedling establishment, possibly because of summer drought . Pointleaf manzanita seedlings reach heights of 14 to 16 inches (35-40 cm) 2 years after fire .
Asexual regeneration: Pointleaf manzanita regenerates by layering when branches that lie on the ground for extended periods (>2 years) take root [17,102].SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Climate: Two distinct climatic patterns occur in regions where pointleaf manzanita occurs. Climate in the desert southwest follows a bimodal distribution with nearly equal amounts of precipitation in winter and summer, while drought is common during fall and spring. Storm systems bring rain and snow in the winter, while monsoons bring thunderstorms in summer. In contrast, climate in California is considered "mediterranean," where 80% of the annual total precipitation occurs in the fall, winter, and spring from Pacific storms. Summer droughts are common. Pointleaf manzanita typically occurs in areas where annual precipitation ranges from 10 to 30 inches (250-800 mm) . Annual average precipitation is:
|State||Location||Mean Annual Precipitation||Citation|
|California||San Diego||10.0 inches (250 mm)|||
|California||Cuyamaca||32.5 inches (825 mm)|||
|Arizona||Oracle||20.8 inches (528 mm)|||
|New Mexico||Luna||16.4 inches (417 mm)|||
|Texas||Mt. Locke||18.8 inches (477 mm)|||
|Chihuahua||Majalca||19.7 inches (500 mm)|||
|Sonora||Pilaares de Nacozari||22.8 inches (578 mm)|||
Elevation: Pointleaf manzanita occurs in chaparral and woodlands between 3,000 to 8,000 feet (900-2,500 m). Elevations above and below where pointleaf manzanita occurs are generally occupied by montane coniferous forests and desert or coastal grassland types, respectively [51,66,89,106]. Elevational ranges by state are:
|Utah||3,280-6,234 feet (1,000-1,900 m)|||
|California||2,953-7,382 feet (900-2,250 m)|||
|Arizona||3,500-6,500 feet (1,067-1,981 m)|||
|Texas||~6,000 feet (~1,900 m)|||
|New Mexico||5,000-8,000 feet (1,524-2,439 m)|||
|Nevada||4,200-8,000 feet (1,280-2,439 m)|||
|Chihuahua||6,234-6,890 feet (1,900-2,100 m)|||
Pointleaf manzanita occurs in a "fire-induced climax association." This is defined as species that must have fires at regular intervals to maintain dominance. Stand-level regeneration of pointleaf manzanita occurs after fire that scarifies long-lived, soil-stored seed. Depending on geographic location, moisture availability, and time since last fire, fire exclusion results in the successional replacement of pointleaf manzanita . This is especially apparent at the upper elevational limits of pointleaf manzanita, where chaparral or oak woodlands transition to higher, more mesic pine forests. In these areas, very old stands of pointleaf manzanita are susceptible to encroachment by conifers [16,76,79,84].
Stands where pointleaf manzanita occurs change rapidly during the first 1 to 4 postfire years. In areas where pointleaf manzanita associates with sprouting shrub species, postfire succession can typically be described in 3 stages: (1) During the 1st postfire year, grasses and forbs form the dominant cover, while chaparral shrub seedlings and sprouts emerge. (2) During the 2nd postfire year, mortality of shrub and subshrub seedlings is high. (3) In subsequent years, the remaining shrub seedlings and sprouts become well established while herbaceous vegetation gradually decreases. After 8 to 10 postfire years, a relatively mature chaparral cover with little understory exists [23,41,98].
Between fires vegetative regeneration by layering occurs on the perimeters of parent shrubs and creates a discrete age and size "aggregate" from the center of the parent shrub to the outside of the aggregate. This assemblage may resemble one large individual shrub. As the parent shrub ages, it often senesces and dies while the aggregates continue growth leaving a "fairy ring" growth pattern .SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Fire regimes: Historic fire regimes in stands where pointleaf manzanita occur varied by geographic region and forest type. For example, prior to 1930, fire return intervals in Madrean pine-oak woodlands of La Michilía Biosphere Reserve in Durango, Mexico, ranged from 3 to 37 years. In that region, short fire intervals are characteristic of low elevations and small fire size, while longer fire intervals are typical of higher elevations and larger fires . In the interior chaparral communities of Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent Mexico, fires historically burned at intervals of 50 to 100 years, and at high severities over large areas . In southern California and northern Baja California, fires in montane chaparral burned frequently (<20 years) at low severities and small sizes, while larger, severe fires burned infrequently (>50 years) [4,70,87].
Fire exclusion: In the absence of fire, mature (>30 yrs old) pointleaf manzanita shrubs may grow larger than 20 feet (6 m) in diameter. Large individual shrub size and high densities of pointleaf manzanita are attributed to layering .
The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where pointleaf manzanita may be important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.
|Community or Ecosystem||Dominant Species||Fire Return Interval Range (years)|
|California chaparral||Adenostoma and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||<35 to <100|
|California montane chaparral||Ceanothus and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||50-100 |
|curlleaf mountain-mahogany*||Cercocarpus ledifolius||13-1,000 [7,94]|
|Arizona cypress||Cupressus arizonica||< 35 to 200|
|western juniper||Juniperus occidentalis||20-70|
|Rocky Mountain juniper||Juniperus scopulorum||< 35 |
|pine-cypress forest||Pinus-Cupressus spp.||< 35 to 200 |
|pinyon-juniper||Pinus-Juniperus spp.||< 35 |
|Mexican pinyon||Pinus cembroides||20-70 [75,99]|
|Jeffrey pine||Pinus jeffreyi||5-30|
|Pacific ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa||1-47 |
|interior ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum||2-30 [4,8,60]|
|Arizona pine||Pinus ponderosa var. arizonica||2-15 [8,20,95]|
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca||25-100 [4,6,104]|
|coastal Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||40-240 [4,77,92]|
|California mixed evergreen||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii||< 35|
|California oakwoods||Quercus spp.||< 35 |
|oak-juniper woodland (Southwest)||Quercus-Juniperus spp.||< 35 to < 200 |
|coast live oak||Quercus agrifolia||2-75 |
|canyon live oak||Quercus chrysolepis||<35 to 200|
|blue oak-foothills pine||Quercus douglasii-P. sabiniana||<35 |
|California black oak||Quercus kelloggii||5-30 |
|interior live oak||Quercus wislizenii||< 35 |
Also in central Arizona, Pase and Lindenmuth  found "abundant" regeneration and "vigorous growth" of pointleaf manzanita seedlings 1 to 5 years following prescribed fire in a shrub live oak-mountain-mahogany community. However, mortality of pointleaf manzanita seedlings was high following emergence during the summer dry seasons (see Fire Case Studies).
Fire severity and postfire establishment: During the mid-20th century, stand conversion of pointleaf manzanita and other chaparral species to grasslands was rationalized by grazing needs, potential wildlife habitat improvement, and aesthetics. A common tactic during chaparral conversions involved the use of low-severity prescribed fire. Lathrop and Martin  found that prescribed fire conducted in southern California Jeffrey pine-California black oak woodlands during the winter killed pointleaf manzanita plants but was not severe enough to break dormancy of belowground banked pointleaf manzanita seeds. Burning resulted in a significant reduction (93%, p<0.01) in density and basal area of pointleaf manzanita in burned areas compared to adjacent unburned stands 2 years following fire.
Fire frequency and postfire establishment: Research conducted during the mid-20th century focused on the timing and frequency of burning as means of reducing stands of pointleaf manzanita (see Fire severity and postfire establishment above). Pointleaf manzanita can be eliminated in areas where fires are frequent enough to kill young plants that have not matured enough to produce a seed crop [13,17]. One experimental burn in montane chaparral in California, conducted 3 years after a fire on a young stand of pointleaf manzanita, resulted in 100% mortality of all plants. No new seedlings established .
The Research Project Summary Response of vegetation to prescribed burning in a Jeffrey pine-California black oak woodland and a deergrass meadow at Cuyamaca State Park, California, provides information on prescribed fire and postfire responses of many plant community species including pointleaf manzanita.FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
|September 1961||September 1962||September-October 1963||October 1964|
|rate of spread index||15-20||10-20||10||10|
|maximum air temperature (oF)||69||85||80||79|
|relative humidity (%)||46||34||25||33|
|wind speed (mph)||17||5||6||5|
|litter moisture (%)||13||8||6||7|
It is recognized that prefire herbicide treatment of chaparral would probably not be included in current fire prescriptions. However, this Fire Case Study provides useful quantitative information on ability of pointleaf manzanita to establish after prescribed fire.FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES:
Palatability/nutritional value: Palatability of pointleaf manzanita is considered "low" for deer species .
Cover value: The Chauilla people considered stands of pointleaf manzanita excellent cover for white-tailed and mule deer and desert bighorn sheep . Hooded skunk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, blue grouse, Montezuma quail, Gambel's quail, desert kangaroo rats, American black bears, coyote, and numerous bird species are found in stands of pointleaf manzanita [10,51,66].VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
The fruits of pointleaf manzanita are edible and are commonly used in jelly, and sold in markets in Mexico [51,89]. The leaves and fruit of pointleaf manzanita are used in Mexican household remedies for dropsy, bronchitis, venereal diseases, and other infections .
Pointleaf manzanita is sometimes used for fuelwood in Arizona and New Mexico, although it is considered "nondesirable" fuel .OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
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