Manzanita: little apple. That’s how the common name translates into English.
Remarkable that this plant with its distinctive brilliant red and pealing bark was named for the berries it bears. Those berries, so insignificant to me that I can’t recall what they look like. The flowers are bells, white and clustered with just a hint of pink on the stems. The leaves too borrow the blush as they emerge, but the color is thrown off as the leaf matures. Yes, if I was a manzanita leaf, I too would shrug off that lipstick coloring; it would be senseless to compete for attention when the bark is clearly going all out.
You’ll find various manzanita(Arctostaphylos ssp.) shrubs and trees, in the chaparral-covered hills of the western United States. The dry, hot summer conditions have forged the diminutive, pastel-green, waxy leaves; bred them to retain moisture. Clearly its foliage has adapted to the environment. Your guess is as good as mine though when it comes to what purpose the bark’s blaring color serves.
They say manzanita makes excellent firewood, perhaps the red is a harbinger of a long burning flame.