Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Coastal BC Plants: Arbutus Trees

A is for 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.


Berries form in the fall.
In the fall, berries form in cluster. They are edible, but not very flavourful.

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.


For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the sixteenth round of the meme established by Denise Nesbitt and now maintained by a team including Denise, Roger, Leslie, and other hard working volunteers. -- Margy

10 comments:

  1. Do they grow down here in California? They look quite familiar.

    My ABC WEDNESDAY

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    1. In the States I believe they are called Madrona trees. I saw a map online that showed them starting pretty steady from about Monterrey north. They are also used as ornamental trees in landscaping. They grow mainly near the coast in areas with bluffs and cliffs. - Margy

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  2. Not sure if I have seen the arbutus tree, but the fungus, that is no good.

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    1. I read they are prone to several types of fungus. Fortunately our trees didn't all die off last year. - Margy

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  3. Not good on the fungus. One of the many trees I like here in BC.

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  4. The red bark is such a nice color and I love how they grow on the cliffs.
    Ann

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  5. Love this tree - especially when it's called Madrona....

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  6. Thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting on my A post for the new round of ABC Wednesday. I still have a few more Coastal BC plants to share, but this round I may have to branch out (no pun intended) to a few other subjects. - Margy

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  7. I love the arbutus trees, and saw lots on our visit to BC this past 2 weeks.

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