Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Arbutus Trees

Scattered along the rocky cliffs of Coastal BCs shoreline and fjord-like lakes, you will see red-barked trees interspersed with the pines, firs, hemlocks, and cedars. These are the majestic Arbutus trees (Arbutus menziesii), also called the Pacific Madrone. The Arbutus are also evergreens, but they have broad leaves instead of needles.

The Arbutus has the red trunk and is tucked behind the fir tree.
It grows in very dry areas, and is very often found wedged in cracks on sheer granite cliffs. They usually have several twisty branches and often lean over at steep angles. The dark, shiny leaves form at the ends of the branches, mostly near the top of the 30-foot tree. They remind me of Manzanita bushes on steroids.

The most distinctive feature of the Arbutus is it's red trunk and branches. The bark is smooth and often peels and flakes off as the tree grows.

The wood of the Arbutus is hard and not good for the lumber industry. Besides, their growing location isn't conducive to harvesting. That leaves them for all of us to enjoy. That's fine by me. -- Margy


  1. They certainly are majestic trees, of which I saw many many along the California cliffs coast near Carmel and Monterey!

    abcw Team

  2. I love the Arbutus trees for the color of their bark.

  3. Oh I love the rich velvety looking red.

  4. I love Arbutus trees, that and the hedges, two major draws to our area!

  5. I'll never forget the first time I noticed Arbutus trees. I was born on the BC coast, and am sure I must have seen them before. The first time I really noticed them, however, was the spring of 1964, traveling by boat up the coast and up Jervis Inlet to Princess Louisa Inlet, with a large group of other teenagers.
    Now to get back to trying to think of something for the letter A for ABC Wednesday. I managed X and Z, so who knew A would be so difficult? (I still haven't looked at the ABC page yet, but your blog is on my list.)

  6. I loved seeding the arbutus trees when visiting Vancouver Island .. gorgeous trees. My other favourite tree is the monkey tree.

  7. Trees like this simply defy logic, but they're so beautiful. I'm amazed at their resiliency at being able to survive under these conditions.

  8. Beautiful tree with so much personality! I love the paper-like bark and the broad leaves, but I especially appreciate the twisting trunk and branches that grow in those cracks and crevices...I think it's a very good thing they aren't good for the lumber industry because nature needs to keep beauties like these!

  9. A hardy tree to survive on such rugged terrain.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  10. Great tree the Madrone--They are all over southern Whidbey Island. In fact Captian Whidbeys Inn is made from the wood which as you say is very difficult to use. Quite a history there.
    So are you guys home for now or still gallivanting around? MB

  11. Warrior trees.

    Tim, "A" Entry #51