WSU Clark County Extension

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Pacific Madrone

Scientific name: Arbutus menziesii

Type:Evergreen trees
Plant Requirements
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:60 ft
Width:30 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:April to May
Bloom Color:Pink
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description In areas west of the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Madrone is a most handsome evergreen tree. It has an irregular open crown and smooth reddish bark that peels from the limbs and the trunk. This Northwest native occurs all the way from Vancouver Island in British Columbia to southern California. It's also known as Oregon Laurel.

This is a broad-leaved evergreen tree, which attains a height of 20’ up to 60’ with a width of 30’. It bears leaves which are arranged alternately on the stems. They are simple, oval and broad in nature and range in size from 1”-4” in length and 2”-3” in width. They have a thick leathery texture and entire leaf margins. During the summer the leaves have a shiny green color while in the fall they can turn red before the older leaves are shed.

Flowers resemble those of other members of Ericaceae family in that they are urn shaped, 1/4" long, and come white or pink. Flower clusters (up to 6” across) will grace the ends of the twigs in April. Latter in the summer the flowers morph to ½” diameter berry globes which are a striking red to orange color, as would be found on the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus enedo).

Mature reddish brown bark often peels off to expose smooth stems beneath which, in turn, are red themselves.

Does best with fairly dry, sunny sites with shallow, well drained soil. As it sheds leaves and bark often it's considered a rather messy tree.

Root rot occurs when Pacific Madrone is subjected to excessive winter soil moisture. This species simply does not tolerate site disturbance.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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