Pacific madrone Ericaceae Arbutus
menziesii Pursh symbol: ARME
Leaf: Simple, alternate, persistent, oblong to oval, 3 to 5 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide, leathery; dark green above and silvery green below, smooth on both surfaces. Margins may be entire or finely serrated. Leaves persist only 13 or 14 months, just barely keeping the tree evergreen.
Flower: Perfect; urn-shaped; white. Small (1/4 inch) but borne in large clusters up to 6 inches long.
Fruit: Small (1/4 inch), round, orange-red, berry-like drupes (multiple small, hard seeds) with pebbly skins (like oranges).
Twig: Stout, initially light green and smooth but turning orange-brown or red-brown with time, buds small, rounded, and nondescript with imbricate scales.
Bark: Very distinctive; when young it is thin, red-brown or orange-brown, breaking into scales or short strips; mature bark is thin, multi-colored (green, red, orange, brown), and exfoliates in patches and strips.
Form: Broad-leaved evergreen tree to 100 feet tall and 2 to 6 feet in diameter, sprouts from the base when the main stem is damaged and commonly has multiple stems.
Looks like: Arizona madrone - Texas madrone - Pacific rhododendron
Additional Range Information: Arbutus menziesii is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting Pacific madrone.
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson