Our Plants

February 2004 Plant Highlight: Arctostaphylos 'Ruth Bancroft'
Image of Arctostaphylos   Image of Arctostaphylos branch

There are approximately 50 species of Arctostaphylos, commonly known as manzanitas, almost all of them native to western North America (the 2 exceptions have a circumpolar distribution, being found also in northern Eurasia). A preponderance of the species are native to California, and they are common components of chaparral vegetation as well as open-woodlands in many parts of the state. They range from prostrate creepers to small trees, and are valued for their beautiful red-brown, peely-barked trunks and branches, as well as their dainty urn-shaped pendant flower clusters and drought-tolerance. Flower color ranges from pink to white. The genus belongs to the Heath Family (Ericaceae).

Ruth Bancroft has grown a number of different manzanitas, and our cultivar named for her was a seedling that volunteered in the garden, so its parentage is unknown. Over the years it has developed into a shrub or small tree about 10 feet in height, with bluish-green leaves and a profusion of tiny white flowers produced in January-February. Fallen flowers carpet the ground beneath it like a sprinkling of confetti during its blooming period. The trunk and branches are a dark red-brown color, smooth except for occasional small patches of peely flakes.

Image of Arctostaphylos flowers
Text and Photos by Brian Kemble
Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Centennial Celebration
We are celebrating Garden Founder Ruth Bancroft's 100th year throughout 2009. If you would like to get involved in this historic milestone, you can help by contributing to the Centennial Fund or by attending on of our many special events this year.
Grant Funders
The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position, and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our Volunteer Coordinator’s position, as well as for their generous support over the years.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy