Common Name(s): Manzanita
Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos spp. (Arctostaphylos pungens)
Distribution: Shrubland regions of western North America
Tree Size: 3-16 ft (1-5 m) tall, 6-10 in (15-25 cm) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 57.6 lbs/ft3 (920 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .74, .92
Janka Hardness: 2,350 lbf (10,440 N)*
*Estimated hardness based on specific gravity
Modulus of Rupture: No data available
Elastic Modulus: No data available
Crushing Strength: No data available
Shrinkage: No data available
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is brownish red, sometimes with a bright orange hue. Sapwood is a pale off-white to light brown; clearly distinguished from heartwood, but not sharply demarcated. Burls and wild or swirled grain is common.
Grain/Texture: Manzanita has a fine, uniform texture with a good natural luster.
Endgrain: No data available.
Rot Resistance: No official data available, though anecdotal reports suggest that the wood is very durable and resistant to decay.
Workability: Manzanita can be difficult to machine because the tree (usually a shrub) tends to have so many defects and irregular grain. Small pieces with straight, clear grain are relatively easy to work when compared to woods of similar density. Manzanita tends to check and split if not dried with care. Turns and finishes superbly.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Manzanita. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Manzanita is typically only a small shrub or tree, and supplies are limited to hobbyist demand. Root burls are the most common form of Manzanita offered for sale. Very small boards and turning blanks are also available occasionally. Given Manzanita’s small size, and special processing requirements, prices are understandably high.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Decorative slabs, small boxes, turned objects, and other small, specialty wood items.
Comments: The gnarled and twisted branches of Manzanita make it a favorite wood for bird perches and aquarium driftwood. However, its form as a shrub generally means that its beautiful wood is only straight enough and long enough to be used in very small projects.