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Madrone Arbutus menziesii

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ar-BYOO-tus men-ZEE-see-eye
Description

Madrona is a broadleaf evergreen native to the Pacific coast from British Columbia to California on dry rocky slopes and bluffs. In spring, they produce sprays of white bell-shaped flowers that are followed by round fruits that matures to red. The bark is quite stunning as the bark peels revealing a coppery surface. They are difficult to transplant and can be slow to establish.

This tree requires very well-drained, low fertility, dry soils in full sun to partial shade. It should not be over-watered or fertilized. Use Madrona as a specimen, and for year-round interest.  Its massive root system makes it ideal for erosion control.  

The base of its stem will have an underground regenerative organ that is referred to as a burl, or lignotuber.  A burl is defined as a large, knobby growth, typically found on a tree trunk or branch, while a lignotuber is a burl that grows underground.  It is made up of a collection of tree cells in response to an area where damage has occurred to the tree, such as from pruning.  These form as a means of protecting the tree against destruction of the plant stem, such as can happen by wildfires.  

This tree will most likely do best in NC in the mountains due to the heat and humidity of coastal and Piedmont areas.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  It is susceptible to several diseases including Phytophthora, cankers, leaf spot, and root rot.  Aphids frequent this plant.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#frost tender#spring flowers#winter interest#flowering tree#showy fruits#red fruits#long lifespan#exfoliating bark#dry soils tolerant#shade intolerant#broadleaf#showy
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#frost tender#spring flowers#winter interest#flowering tree#showy fruits#red fruits#long lifespan#exfoliating bark#dry soils tolerant#shade intolerant#broadleaf#showy
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Arbutus
    Species:
    menziesii
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    California Indians ate the fruit raw and cooked. The bark used medicinally. The wood used for making shuttles.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western coast of N. America
    Distribution:
    British Columbia south to California.
    Wildlife Value:
    Pollinated by bees. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers and also pollinate.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Shade
    Wind Break
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    dryish soil
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 65 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    0.3-inch red fruit with a barb that persists into winter. Each fruit contain numerous seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Urn
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    White bell-shaped flowers on 3- to 9-in. panicles in May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Waxy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    2 to 6-inch long and 1.5-3 inches wide oval, alternate, simple, waxy leaves. Glossy green above and paler underneath with entire margins.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Fissured
    Peeling
    Bark Description:
    The papery cinnamon, red-brown exfoliating bark peels off in large, thin scales. After the outer bark sheds, the remaining red bark is smooth with a polished appearance. Young bark may be a variety of color variations, but will darken to a deep red as the tree ages.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Smooth reddish-brown bark on single or multiple curved trunks. With variations in color, young stems can range from green to yellow-green. Immature trunks may be orange.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Salt
    Problems:
    Messy