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Arbutus xalapensis Kunth
Texas madrone, Madrone, Naked indian, Manzanita
Synonyms: Arbutus xalapensis var. texana, Arbutus texana
USDA Symbol: ARXA80
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Usually multi-trunked, Texas madrone is a 20-30 ft., evergreen tree. Its colorful, exfoliating outer bark reveals polished, red, inner bark. Stout, crooked, spreading branches form a distinct crown. Dark-green, leaves are red-tinged on edges and undersides. Petioles up to 1 1/4 inches long, blades to 3 1/2 inches long, ovate to elliptic, of a leathery texture, margins usually smooth. Flowers white, small, urn shaped, in wooly clusters, appearing in early spring. Fruit red or orange berries, spherical, up to 1/3 inch in diameter, in elongate clusters, edible.
It is reported that the fruit of this uncommon species is edible and that the fruit of related European species has narcotic properties. The wood has been used locally for tool handles. The local names, Naked Indian and Ladys Leg, refer to the smooth, pinkish to reddish-brown bark. The species name, xalapensis, refers to the city of Jalapa/Xalapa in the east Mexican state of Veracruz.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Root Type: Tap Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Elliptic
, Ovate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Apex: Obtuse Leaf Base:
Rounded Leaf Texture:
Leathery Inflorescence: Panicle Leaf:
Shiny dark green above, lower surface paler Flower:
Flower about 2 1/2 inches long.
Orange-red. 1/4 - 1/3 in., borne in clusters 2-3 in. long. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr
NM , TX Native Distribution:
Central Texas (Edwards Plateau) to Trans-Pecos Texas and SE. New Mexico (Guadalupe Mountains), through E. Mexico to Guatemala; at 2000-6000 (610-1829 m). Native Habitat:
Grows in rocky limestone soil; igneous soil in canyons; and is sometimes found on the open plains of the Edwards Plateau and in the mountains of the Trans-Pecos. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry Cold Tolerant:
Moist, rocky soils. Limestone-based, Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam
Clay Conditions Comments:
One of the most interesting and beautiful native
trees of Texas, but temperamental to propagate or grow. Propagation requirements are complex, and it is very difficult to transplant successfully from the wild. In the landscape, it grows best in well-drained areas.
Attractive, Fruits ornamental, Blooms ornamental Use Wildlife:
Birds eat sweet berries. Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Fruit-deer. Browsed by cattle and heavily by deer and goats. Use Medicinal:
and leaves are astringent and are occasionally used in Mexico. Use Other:
The wood is used for tools, handles, rollers, fuel, and charcoal for gunpowder. It is reddish brown, sapwood lighter, close-grained, hard, heavy, specific gravity about 0.75. Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds Deer Resistant:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Propagation of Texas madrone (Arbutus xalapensis)
October 08, 2008
I have seeds from a madrone tree and would like to know if you have had success propagating a madrone and if so, could you give me some tips, because I hear it can be tricky.
view the full question and answer
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0721
Collected Mar 29, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0722
Collected Jul 18, 1992 in Bandera County by Harry Cliffe
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Record Modified: 2010-11-03
Research By: NPC