Trees of Big Sur and the Santa Lucia Mountains of Central California

Madrone Arbutus menziesii

This easy to recognize broad-leafed evergreen with distinctive rust colored bark is sometimes called Pacific Madrone while in the Pacific Northwest it is known as Arbutus. They range from 30 to 80 ft. tall with a trunk over 6 feet in diameter (although the largest I have found in the Santa Lucias is almost 4 feet in diameter). The tree is often twisted with curved branches. While they look similar to the Manzanita bushes they are not closely related.

madrone flowers and leaves
The leaves are thick, oval, dark geen on the top surface and lighter green beneath with an entire margin.

madrone tree
The From a distance the broad green leaves and upper branches of Madrone bark with its smooth red-orange bark stands out against the other trees in the forest.

madrone flowersRacemes of pea-sized bell shaped flowers occur in the Spring.

Madrone Green Brerries
Pea-sized green fruit of the Madrone in late summer, early fall.

Madrone Red Berries
In the fall the fruit ripens to a bright red that is an important food source for many birds and other wildlife.

madrone bark
The rust bark peals away leaving a smooth skin.

madrone barkWhen the bark peals it often exposes a light green bark in the Spring.

Madrone Red Bark
The deep rust-red color of the smooth Madrone bark on a mature tree.

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