More Manzanita Markings

Continuing to make my way through photos I took in northern California last October, I just came across these shots of the trunk of a gnarled old manzanita (Arctostaphylos).  The remaining bark looks as if someone poured melted red wax down the stem.

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I’m not sure what happened to it to make it look like this, although looking at it now, I see lots of old horizontal grooves in the wood, and presumably that was the injury that killed the bark.  I wonder if that has anything to do with this?

It also occurs to me now that similar horizontal markings sometimes appear on mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), another member of the heath family (Ericaceae) and the most manzanita-like plant that grows in the eastern US (although bearberry, a plant that grows low to the ground, is actually in the same genus: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).  Coincidence?There are examples of these markings on BugGuide here.

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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4 Responses to More Manzanita Markings

  1. Sue Cloutier says:

    Is the tree alive? Could it be a slime mold? I can’t tell from the photo if it is soft. Interesting and beautiful.

  2. Kathie Fiveash says:

    That is so amazing. I have never seen anything like it. Are you sure it is the bark?

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