The Pacific Madrone
We have a tree growing here in the Pacific Northwest with reddish bark that peels. It is an evergreen and grows 60-100 feet tall. Any dead leaves fall in Spring or Summer and leaves stay green 13 or 14 months.
On young trees the bark is red or orange brown and very smooth. Later as the tree ages, the bark separates into scales or short strips and exfoliates.
The flowers are white urn shaped and they produce berry like orange to red pebbly drupes….a cherry like fruit. I don’t think the fruit is edible but I have heard it has no flavor…but I do believe birds and squirrels eat it.
This tree is found all over my area and grows from British Columbia down to California in the Sierra Mountains and the Cascades.
The wood from this tree is not used to build anything like Oak or Ash are, it doesn’t lend well to drying.
What I love about this tree is for firewood. It burns a very long time, is very dense and if you don’t chop it when its first cut, it turns into as hard as a rock. But I also love to look at the branches and trunk. I love the feel of how smooth the younger branches are and the older trunks the peels on it are beautiful. It is also a very hard tree to transplant if you can even find any saplings. I have tried to get one to grow in my front yard and no luck. Each time I dug a tiny one up and replanted it, it died….finally I stopped trying. I wanted one in my front yard with the multiple trunks…just gorgeous.