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.
|Berries form in the fall.|
Last year the Arbutus trees were hit hard with a defoliating fungus. Trees closes to town were more affected. This year, while there are some standing dead trees, many have recovered with bright green foliage and healthy red bark. -- Margy