Trees With Flowers Or Fruits - The Madrona
( Originally Published 1927 )
The madrona (Arbutus Menziesii, Pursh.), another member of the Heath family, is one of the superbly beautiful trees in the forests that stretch from British Columbia southward into California. South of the bay of San Francisco and on the dry eastern slopes of California mountains it is stunted to a shrub, but on the high, well-drained slopes through the coast region and in the red-wood forests of northern California it is a tree that reaches a hundred feet in height.
John Muir writes : "The madrona, clad in thin, smooth, red and yellow bark, with big, glossy leaves, seems in the dark coniferous forests of Washington and Vancouver Island like some lost wanderer from the magnolia groves in the South." All the year around this is one of the most beautiful of American trees. It bears large conical clusters of white flowers above the vivid green of its leathery leaves, that are wonderfully lightened by silvery linings. In autumn the red-brown of the branches is enriched and intensified by the luxuriant clusters of scarlet berries against the red and orange of the two-year-old leaves. Among the giant redwoods this tree commands the highest admiration.