Arbutus andrachne

The true strawberry tree of the Mediterranean this close relative of our Pacific Madrone is a small  rounded multi-trunked tree.  Evergreen long glossy foliage creates  dark shade. In the spring whitish/green urn shaped flowers transform into small, edible, red berries. These are loved by birds and people too, the dried fruit is reportedly extremely heavy in antioxidants. The bark exfoliates beautifully just like our own and it peels in summer to reveal a green glossy trunk that slowly changes to rusty brown and continues to be glossy. Seed of these trees was collected outside of Jerusalem. This small tree of of the Mediterranean region circles that whole sea and even results in hybrids with Arbutus unedo. Moderately fast growing tree to 30′  in great age. Beautiful tree that is extraordinarily drought adapted. Ideal for hot sunny slopes and perfect accompaniment to Manzanitas and our own Madrone. Avoid subfreezing wind and err on the side of  protected location, a west or south aspect is ideal. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Beautiful evergreen, lovely fruit, and bark. Gains cold hardiness with age.  AKA Greek Strawberry tree.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Arbutus menziesii

Arbutus menziesii

Pacific Madrone, iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest. Famous for its glossy, russet orange sinuous trunks, exfoliating bark, and round, evergreen foliage. In spring, clusters of white flowers are showy and turn into vivid red berries by autumn. These are loved by birds- especially western tanagers who will quickly strip a tree as flocks move from one to the next. Must be grown from seed and it must be transplanted when small. Just the way it is. Plant it in average, well drained soil. Water lightly through the first summer in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Full sun is best- tends to wander towards the sun in shade. Underplant with low water natives such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Vancouveria. Slow at first it picks up speed after about 4 years- then it can grow 2′-4′ a year. Somewhat messy tree- loses older leaves in summer and the bark exfoliates all over the place too. Know this and live with it. Ours are raised from seed of trees native to our wholesale nursery site- so its a local strain. Pacific madrone is native from the highest mountains of southern California to southern British Columbia. It is the northern-most broadleaved evergreen tree (native) in North America. Oregon native plant.

*Cultural note:  Pacific Madrone is best established with a little attention.  Remember that the first year is the most important.  Madrones are adaptable to a host of soil types, thats why you see them in such varied places but err on the side of good drainage, a slope etc.  If the soil is dry when you plant do this, dig a wide area and loosen the soil. This will add oxygen and allow the water to percolate and get to the roots. (If the soil is already moist plant as per your regular routine.) Water after planting to settle the soil.  Let the plant go dry and depending on aridity and heat- you may have to water more in hot weather, less in cool weather. This is only relevant in the first summer after planting.  To water give the Madrone seedling about 1/2 gallon of water. This will be just enough to wet the root ball and keep the seedling from wilting. It should grow a little bit too.  if the plant shows signs of wilting this amount of water will also revive it.  Stop watering when cooler weather arrives (September) and winter rains resume. In subsequent years you should not water your Madrone at all. Do not amend the soil at all, native unimproved soils are what they are adapted to.  Remember they are native right here and are perfectly adapted, trust this adaptation. Also, do not crowd your madrone immediately, mulch it  lightly with fine bark and give it good air circulation for its first several years.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6a -5º to -10ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Arbutus unedo

Arbutus unedo

This is the standard small tree form of Strawberry Tree that is so important in PNW horticulture. A good looking evergreen tree that eventually forms a rounded dense crown. To 16′ tall and a third as wide in 10 years. Excellent small patio tree- as long as you account for the prodigious autumn fruit drop. Birds and squirrels consume the fruit which is alluded to in the specific name unedo- which means ‘I eat only one.’ I know people who eat them and claim to like them. So to each their own. No denying the electric neon yellow to bright red fruit is striking September to December. White urn shaped flowers appear simultaneously with the fruits in autumn. In time the bark develops to dark brown and shredding. Native to the Mediterranean with a disjunct population in southern Ireland. Drought tolerant when established.

My Favorites

Plant type: , ,  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King'

Arbutus unedo ‘Elfin King’

Compact, everblooming form of Strawberry Tree with a huge attendant crop of vivid fruit in autumn. To 9′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years in any well drained soil with light summer irrigation- completely drought adapted when established. Good looking, climate adapted evergreen native to the Mediterranean as well as Ireland. Nice specimen or small garden tree. Avoid the coldest, windiest sites. Handsome shredded mid-brown/red bark. Provide good air circulation. Quite a bit slower growing than the species. In time it develops into a rather dense upright shrub- just a tad smaller than the species.  Locate away from paths, patios as fruit drop can be messy. A great, easy, dependable broad leaved evergreen for our climate. Related to our native Madrone. Native to Ireland down to Portugal and in to the mediterranean.  Prune in early spring if needed.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: