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Arbutus menziesii
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Madrone
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Arbutus menziesii
  

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About Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) The Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), is a species of arbutus found on the west coast of North America, from British Columbia (chiefly Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands) to California (mainly in the Puget Sound, Oregon Coast Range and California Coast Ranges but also scattered on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains). It becomes rare south of Santa Barbara County, with isolated stands south to Palomar Mountain, San Diego County and northern Baja California, Mexico. It is also known as the Madroo, Madroa, Bearberry, or Strawberry Tree. In British Columbia it is simply referred to as Arbutus. Its species name was given it in honour of the Scots naturalist Archibald Menzies who noted it during George Vancouver's voyage of exploration. It is a broadleaf evergreen tree with rich orange-red bark that peels away on the mature wood, leaving a greenish, silvery appearance that has a satin sheen and smoothness. The exposed wood sometimes feels cool to the touch. In spring, it bears sprays of small bell-like flowers, and in autumn, red berries. The berries dry up and have hooked barbs that latch onto larger animals for migration. It is common to see madrones of about 10-25 meters in height, but in the right conditions the trees reach up to 30 meter. In best conditions madrones can also reach a thickness of 5-8 feet at its trunk, much like an oak tree. The leaves are thick, oval, 7-15 centimeter long and 4-8 centimeter broad, and arranged spirally; they are glossy dark green above and a lighter, more grayish green beneath, with an entire margin. The leaves brown during the fall season and detach from the branches.

Madrone is a particularly beautiful plant, but it grows very slowly in the southern, drier part of its range, where it typically grows to only 25 feet. In the northern, moister part of its range, it can grow quickly to 100 feet. Plant in a shady or partially shaded location, and avoid direct summer water. It prefers north facing slopes especially in drier locations.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Tree

Max. Height
15 - 100 ft (4.6 - 30.5 m)

Max. Width
5 - 25 ft (1.5 - 7.6 m)

Form
Rounded, Upright Columnar

Fragrance
Slight

Growth Rate
Slow

Dormancy
Evergreen

Flower Color
White, Red

Flowering Season
Spring
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter


Native Status
Native

Natural Setting
Site Type
Shady forests with Redwood, Pine or Fir; also Foothill Woodland and Oak Woodland. Prefers north slopes and well draining soil

Sun
Part Shade

Elevation ?
10' - 6292'

Annual Precip. ?
11.8" - 133.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 3.87"

Coldest Month ?
33.6° F - 53.8° F

Hottest Month ?
56.8° F - 78.0° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 25.10 vpd

Soil Description
Heavy

Soil Texture
Clay, Clay Loam, Loam, Loamy Sand, Silt Clay Loam, Silt Loam, Silty Clay

Soil PH
5 - 7

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Drainage
Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
3, 4, 5*, 6, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24

Companion Plants
Coast Live Oak, Black Oak, California Bay Tree

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds, many birds

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Low
Moderate - High


Popularity
Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
1x/month
2x/month
3x/month
1/week
Keep moist


Mulch
Deep Organic

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2-3 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Bird Gardens, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Pacific Madrone, Strawberry Tree, Madroo, Madroa, Bearberry


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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