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Arbutus menziesii Pursh
Pacific madrone, Oregon laurel, Laurelwood
USDA Symbol: ARME
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This is a tall tree, 50-100 ft. (shorter in cultivation), with a graceful, wide-branching habit and oblong, gray-green evergreen leaves. Handsome with tall, reddish-brown trunk and open, narrow, rounded or irregular crown of stout, smooth red branches. Small, white, urn-shaped flowers occur in drooping, terminal clusters and are followed by small, red-orange fruit. The bark peels in thin flakes leaving a polished, reddish-brown surface.
Pacific Madrone is one of the most beautiful broadleaf flowering evergreens, with its glossy foliage, large clusters of small white flowers, orange-red fruits, and very showy, reddish, peeling bark. It is the northernmost New World tree of its family, ranging to Canada. The scientific name honors the discoverer, Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), a Scottish physician and naturalist.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Root Type: Tap Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Elliptic
, Ovate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Apex: Acute Leaf Texture:
Leathery Breeding System:
Flowers Bisexual Inflorescence: Panicle Size Notes:
Height up to 80 feet, spread 15-75 feet. Leaf:
Dark Green above, silvery-green below Flower:
Flowers 1/4 inch
Red, Orange 1/2 in. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
CA , OR , WA Canada: BC Native Distribution:
Rocky coastal sites, low to mid elevation, Gulf Islands and south-coastal BC. Native Habitat:
Exposed or wooded slopes & canyons below 5000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Drought Tolerance:
Medium , High Cold Tolerant:
Sandy, acid, well-drained soil. Conditions Comments:
A. menziesii has been shown to have a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. The fungi enable the madrone to take up nutrients in the soil. Arbutus spp. benefit from wind protection and may need to be trained early to central leaders to offset their tendency toward shrubbiness. A messy tree,
A. menziesii is best planted away from well-used areas.
Prized for is distinctive peeling bark
but difficult to transplant. Use Wildlife:
Deer and birds consume the fruit,
and the flowers are a source of honey. Use Food:
California Indians ate the fruit
raw and cooked; however, overeating causes cramps. Use Medicinal:
The Tolowa used the bark
for colds. Use Other:
The wood can be used for weaving shuttles. Conspicuous Flowers:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Seeds , Softwood Cuttings Description:
Growing madrone from seeds can be easy. Plant the tiny seeds in the fall. Seed Collection:
The fleshy layer of the fruit
should be removed. Seed Treatment:
Two-three months cold stratification can enhance germination. Commercially Avail:
Pruning as needed.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
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Record Modified: 2008-10-19
Research By: TWC Staff