Advanced Search Map Locator
View Settings
Nurseries Carrying this Plant Add Current Plant To List Edit Current Plant
Show all Photos

Butterflies My Plant Lists Nurseries Planting Guide Contact Calscape About Calscape
Tap map to see plants native to location
Order by Popularity Order by Common Name Order by Scientific Name Order by # of Butterflies Hosted
Show nursery cultivars Hide nursery cultivars
Show plants not in nurseries Hide plants not in nurseries
Grid view Text view
Arbutus menziesii
About Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) Nurseries Show All Photos 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

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

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

Rounded, Upright Columnar


Growth Rate


Flower Color
White, Red

Flowering Season

Native Status

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

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

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

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
Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds, many birds

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

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

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
Bearberry, Madroa, Madrono, Madroo, Pacific Madrone, Strawberry Tree

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

Sign in to your Calscape Account X

Once signed in, you'll be able to access any previously saved plant lists or create new ones.

Email Address

Sign In