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Dendrites in Quartz (variety of Manganese Oxides)
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Dendrites in Quartz

Dendrites are named from the Greek word déndron, meaning tree in alusion to their typical tree-like branched forms.

Discovery year unknown; IMA status: Not Valid (trade name)


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Dendrites are a variety of Manganese Oxides.
For more information please see the
Manganese Oxide information page on


Dendrites, Manganese Dendrites, Manganese Oxides. Moss Agate

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Dendrite Mineral Photos and Locations



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Dendrites are named from the Greek word déndron, meaning tree in alusion to their typical tree-like branched forms. Dendritic forms are often mistaken for fossils of mosses or other plant growths. These are sometimes referred to as pseudofossils. Dendrites form when naturally occurring fissures in minerals such as Quartz or rocks such as limestone are filled by percolating water rich in manganese and iron and then flows along the fractures and bedding planes depositing dendritic crystals as the solution flows through. Dendrites can be found trapped as inclusions within many types of minerals such as Quartz, Beryl and Chabazite. Dendrites can also be found on the surfaces of rocks such as limestone, sandstone and schist. Both of these types of dendrites can be found at many localities around the world.

Dendrites are often attributed to the mineral Pyrolusite but testing by infra-red spectroscopy has shown that no known manganese dendrites are Pyrolusite but may consist of other similar black manganese oxides such as Birnessite, Coronadite, Cryptomelane, Hollandite, Romanèchite, Todoroite or other species. Potter and Rossman (1979) have found that infra-red spectroscopy has been helpful in verifying some dendrite mineralogy. See Potter and Rossman 1979, Mineralogy of Manganese Dendrites and Coatings, American Mineralogist, v. 64, p. 1219-1226.

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