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The brittle red bark of the Pacific madrona (Arbutus menziesii) peels off naturally and creates cool patterns and textures against the smooth green trunk beneath.

The madrona is a persnickety tree which won’t tolerate transplanting, overwatering, or soil disruption.  Once it has grown several inches tall, it’s there to stay, and don’t tamper with its environment or it may die.  Madronas hate change!

If you’re lucky enough to have a madrona on your property, leave it alone, and it’ll be fine.

And once it reaches the end of its lifespan, it’ll reward you with fabulous firewood.  Madrona wood is very dense, and will burn slowly and give off as much heat as oak.



  1. I love Arbutus trees… they are so beautiful 🙂

    • Thanks MSH. I agree, they’re lovely trees, both from afar and up close!

      RPRT Photo

  2. lovely 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on filmcamera999.

  4. I grew up in Santa Cruz and Felton, California where there were Madrona and Manzanita trees/bushes… Great picture!

    • Hi Brinnmar,

      I grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula, where there are also lots of Madrones and Manzanitas (their smaller red-barked “cousins”). I especially love the way the Madrone and Manzanita bark gets all dark red and shiny after a rainstorm. And the smell of the redwoods, and the bay trees…

      I have many fond memories of Santa Cruz and Felton as well, not just the Boardwalk and the Railroad, but hiking in the woods and biking the beautiful back roads and basking on the wild beaches…it’s a long list!

      And now there are great wineries as well! 🙂

      RPRT Photo

  5. I learned something new! I have seen arbutus trees along the coast in British Columbia. When I saw the picture I though immediately of them. Is the Madrona a type of arbutus?

    • Yes, Antarabesque, this madrona is Arbutus menziesii. And this particular one was growing just north of Deception Pass, so not far from BC. Either the same species, or a very close cousin.

      RPRT Photo

      • Thanks for the info. When they improved the sea to sky highway there were a number of arbutus cut down and stacked along the edge of the highway. Of course, every instance they were in a place where it was too dangerous to stop. It is such beautiful wood, I longed to get a chunk. I suppose they were snatched up by other artisans. Is the arbutus protected there too?

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