A Little Something by the Manzinita  LbNA # 45556 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateFeb 8 2009
LocationTucson, AZ
Found By Lee & Nancy
Last Found Mar 26 2011
Hike Distance?

A native shrub in north central Arizona, manzanita is a lovely plant with a graceful form, reddish bark, and beautiful flowers and fruit. Manzanita is related to heather. They grow between 2 and 4 meters tall and grow on slopes between 3,500 and 7,000 feet in elevation.

Manzanita and fire have a love/hate relationship. In nature, manzanita seeds germinate following fire. Fire provides a combination of exposure to heat/smoke and seedbed preparation. The Aspen Fire on Mt. Lemmon in 2003 burned 84,750 acres including the Molino Basin area. That fire has undoubtedly allowed many manzanita seeds to germinate. However, living manzanita plants contain a high percentage of volatile compounds, which burn like a torch when ignited. They also carry a large amount of dead wood, making them all the more flammable. Flame lengths of manzanita can reach eight times the height of the shrub (i.e. a five foot tall manzanita can generate a 40 foot flame). These characteristics most likely contributed to the large amount of acreage burned during the Aspen fire but then provided many Manzanita seeds the opportunity to grow.

To find the box:
Travel up the Catalina Highway to the Molino Basin Campground on the left located between mile markers 5 and 6.
Locate Campsite 20 in the Molino Basin Campground. Sit at the picnic table with your back to the steps. (This could be tricky during the busy season if the campsite is occupied.) At 220 degrees, just over the branch of the tree near the picnic table, you will see a small manzanita. Look for the box under some rocks and plant debris on the southwest side of this manzanita.