Ornithostaphylos oppositifolia

Baja Bird Bush

Plant Type: Shrub, Tree
Sun: Sun
Drainage: Medium, Well-draining
Water: Naturalize, Occasional
Height X Width: 15' X 10'
Santa Clara County Local: No
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This manzanita relative grows naturally in a very limited area - just a small population in southern San Diego County, and a few others in northern Baja. It grows as an open shrub to about fifteen feet. The bark transitions from burnt red to gray, then to burnt red again by the end of the year. As the plant grows the burnt red bark peels away each year to reveal the gray bark beneath. The gray bark, in turn, ages to smooth burnt red. The temporary gray color explains the plant's Spanish common name: palo blanco, “white stick.” The bird bush has the interesting tortuous branch structure of many manzanitas. The leaves occur in bundles of three and are narrow and lance-shaped. The flowers appear in early spring as a drupe of white, pendant little urns typical for members of the heath family. The bird bush seems quite hardy, and is a good choice for a large container. At the Theodore Payne Foundation and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden it thrives in surprisingly shady sites.


Deer Resistant: No
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: No
Evergreen or Deciduous: Evergreen