of the most conspicuous trees of the dry Georgia Basin region is
the Arbutus, Canada's only broad-leaved evergreen tree. This species
is found from Mexico to southern Vancouver Island, and is known
in the south by its Spanish name, Madrone.
reddish bark is delightfully smooth to the touch. This bark peels,
revealing a fresh new greenish layer beneath. The combination plays
beautifully with a lowering westerly sun. Its small white urn-shaped
flowers belie its familial association with the heaths.
In the spring, Rufous Hummingbirds nectar on the flowers, which
in time produce bright orange-red berries. These are taken through
the fall by waxwings, thrushes, pigeons, and woodpeckers.
Arbutus is not
a tall tree, but it can grow to be three feet thick at the base.
Although its wood is hard and beautifully figured, Arbutus has never
been an important timber tree, because of its twisted shape. As
a result, the tree is still widespread, in both urban and woodland