Arbutus menziesii

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Botanical Name: Arbutus menziesii
Common Name: Madrone

Beautiful broad-leaved tree with reddish bark. White spring flowers are bell shaped and are followed by red berries. In southern California it has a shrub-like habit similar to toyon. In northern climates, it is much larger (50-100').

Plant Family: Ericaceae
Plant Type: Shrub/Tree
Height by Width: 15'+ H x 10' W"
Growth Habit: Upright, tall and slender
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Rate: Slow
Sun Exposure: Part sun
Soil Preference: Well-draining
Water Requirements: Occasional to moderate
Cold Hardy to: 5000'
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: White
Endangered?: Not Listed
Distribution: Northwestern California, High Cascade Range, North and Central High Sierra Nevada, Santa Cruz Island, Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, to British Columbia and Baja CA.
Natural Habitat: Canyons and wooded slopes. Elevation: below 5000'"

Hummingbird iconA.jpg Songbird iconA.jpg Butterfly iconA.jpg Slope iconA.jpg

Care and Maintenance

  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "A particularly handsome tree with smooth red bark, large glossy green leaves and clusters of white urn-shaped fragrant flowers. The orange red berries appear late in fall and are very attractive. Prefers a north exposure in rich soil and a fair amount of moisture but good drainage. Gallon cans, $1.00."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.