Pacific madrone is a stately, majestic tree known for its peeling red bark, broad evergreen leaves, creamy white flower clusters and gorgeous bright red berries. Madrone is a broadleaf evergreen tree with glossy, dark green leaves that can reach heights up to 100′ tall under ideal conditions. It can grow in a variety of habitat types, depending on location, most often in mixed conifer or woodland habitat in partly shaded conditions, but it can sometimes also be seen on sunbaked ridges and open slopes in the northern part of its range. In the heat of summer it sheds older leaves and its richly colored red bark, exposing a glossy, greenish bark that is smooth to the touch. Madrone can flower in profusion in April, with large clusters of creamy white bell-shaped flowers that are highly attractive to many pollinators, especially native bees. In autumn to early winter madrone produces bright red berries that are eaten by robins, varied thrush, quail, and other birds and wildlife. The berries are often dried and strung for holiday decorations. Pacific madrone grows from British Columbia, Canada, south through Washington, Oregon, California, and down into northern Baja California, Mexico. The species name, menziesii, was given in honor of the Scottish naturalist, Archibald Menzies, who wrote about the tree during George Vancouver’s expedition to the North Pacific. In its northern range, madrone is often referred to as arbutus or madrona, and in its southern range it is sometimes called madrono. In the Klamath-Siskiyou it is most often simply called madrone. If killed during fire or if cut down it will resprout from the stump or root burl. Once above browse height it is deer resistant, but deer will eat the fresh leaves on a young tree. When grown in containers madrone needs sharply drained potting soil. Direct sow seeds in a location with good drainage.
Arbutus menziesii seed packets contain 1/8 teaspoon of seed.
Seed Germination Instructions
30-60 days cold-moist stratification. Sow seeds outside in fall to late winter.