Arbutus menziesii Pursh
arbutus (madrone; Pacific madrone)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Kevin Newell     (Photo ID #1034)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Arbutus menziesii
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend


This is a distinctive species of tree that is found from southwestern British Columbia south to Baja California.

Daniel Mosquin at the UBC Botanical Gardens says: "It has a seasonal deciduous period – July and August – when all of the previous year’s leaves fall. It just so happens that the current year’s leaves remain on the tree at this time – so it is both evergreen and deciduous."


Species Information

Broadleaf tree, 6-30 m tall, often with many stems from the base and more shrublike; young bark chartreuse and smooth, aging to deep brownish-red and peeling off.
Alternate, evergreen, leathery, egg-shaped to elliptic, glabrous, entire on mature older growth, fine-toothed on young shoots, 5-15 cm long, dark shiny green above, whitish-green below.
In large drooping terminal clusters; corollas white or pinkish, urn-shaped, 6-8 mm long, fragrant.
Berries, globe-shaped, orange to red, about 1 cm across; surface finely granular.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Red
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Arbutus menziesii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
194 15 2080
Slope Gradient (%)
21 0 135

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

260 30 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

CDF(52), CWH(20), ESSF(1)

Habitat and Range

Dry open forests and rocky slopes on coarse or shallow soils in the lowland and montane zones; common in extreme SW BC; S to Baja CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia