Category   Trees in British Columbia: Arbutus
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Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii)

One 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.

Its stunning 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 settings.

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