Thursday, January 22, 2009

Manzanita Skin


Last spring, I posted a picture of manzanita blossoms with the intention of highlighting the beautiful bark at a later time. Well, it's been harder for me to get up close to any mature and well lit specimens than I thought. They are usually on the other side of slippery roadside trenches, or way up steep slopes, at least when I notice them. Today's photo was taken through a fence along a railroad right-of-way, so I still didn't have perfect access. But this gives you a bit of that smooth, skin-like texture of the living wood, and the bonus bits of lichen on the dead branches mixed in. Some species of Arctostaphylos create big tangled domes with marvelously twisted branches. Others hug the ground.

14 comments:

Babzy said...

Very nice ,i like the colour , Manzanita bush is beautiful ...

raf said...

We were both hung up on the trees today, Elaine. You captured that bold red so well against the soft green of the lichen. Lovely!

Bibi said...

I'd love to run my hands over that smooth trunk...beautiful.

Halcyon said...

Very neat pic. There is a big contrast between the trunk and the branches.

Is Manzanita some kind of apple? I swear I've had some kind of apple licquer called manzanita before...

Ernie Branscomb said...

I was just reading this morning that thanks to "Global Warming" spring is a few days early now, but the Manzanita in Garbervile, that usually blooms in early February, is already starting to bloom.

I really like the photos that you do about our area. Thanks!

Laurie said...

Elaine, this is gorgeous. And how I want to plug into your brain and upload all that wonderful botanical knowledge!

This is another image that highlights your sublime ability to make art out of the everyday. BLow this one up and hang it in a museum!!!

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

This is a memory: a giant grove of over 100 year old manzanitas greeted me daily in my mountain home of Cedar Glen, CA. They are gone now, but they were colorful living sculptures. A naturalist in the area told me that manzanitas only grow where there has been a fire. Is that true? Are they a phoenix?

I do know they are the plant of mystics. I made walking sticks and native pipes from the dead wood. No carving needed--their shape is natural genius, and with a few feathers and wrappings...well

Dina said...

Beautiful shot, gorgeous tree. Seeing my favorite red tree makes me miss the woods of my home.
Glad to see Miss Havisham say it in words: manzanita--the plant of mystics! Yes!

Elaine, I miss having time to visit you all everyday. I don't even have time to post my blog. Grandmothering two little boys now is all-consuming. Only two more weeks and I head home.
Be well.

Knoxville Girl said...

tht'a an amazing color - I've never seen one of these trees before.
this photo is already a condender for Best of 09.

Petrea said...

Very sensual tree and photo. Miss H, I liked reading about your memory.

Hilda said...

That bark truly is amazing.

JM said...

Fantastic tree! Awesome colour!

USelaine said...

Babzy - The color is even better in person.

Raf - Thanks!

Bibi - The texture is wonderful, if you can get close enough.

Halcyon - This one just happened to have some dead branches on the lower part of the bush. There were living branches out of camera shot. You're right about the name; it means little apple or pear in Spanish.

Ernie - I saw a ground cover variety of manzanita blooming last month! I should have posted that. And thank you for your kind words.

Laurie - I make use of the internet to expand the half-knowledge floating in my brain. I'm glad you like this.

Miss H - Thank you for the memory! I have two thoughts about the fire theory. For one, just about every place in manzanita country burns sooner or later, and two, I've seen these sprout up along railroad tracks among the gravel where no recent evidence of fire seems apparent. But there are many species of the genus, so some may have different requirements. I have a piece of driftwood that's a smooth section of manzanita. I just like holding it.

Dina - Lovely to see you here. I'm sure you are building wonderful memories for your grandchildren, and you should make the most of it. Shalom!

KG - Thank you! These are actually more like big shrubs in form, but I got close to the center of a big old one for the bark illustration. I think I'll post a different perspective next time.

P - I'll bet you've found these on your hikes as well.

Hilda and JM - It really is a lovely plant, but pretty common in the chaparral regions of the western States. When something is common, it is easily overlooked.

Thanks everyone!

Petrea said...

I don't remember seeing such a tree. Perhaps it's the season. Does it have bark at another time of year? Does the bark fall away? If so, I've seen it.