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Arbutus menziesii

The Madrone tree derives its name from the native arbutus menziesii trees, which are prevalent in the Valley of the Moon in Sonoma, California.

Arbutus menziesii is also known as the Madrone, Madrona, or Arbutus tree. It is characterized by its leathery evergreen leaves, easily peelable red bark covering a tan-orange trunk, whitish flowers, and vibrant clusters of reddish-orange berries.

The Madrone Arbutus tree is often referred to as the "tree of depth and integrity."


Native American tribes Coast Salish, Coast Miwok, Pomo, Saanich, and Wiyot of the Pacific Northwest had multiple uses for this tree. Though not sweet, its berries made cider. They were also strung for necklaces and used as bait for steelhead fishing. Its bark made a medicinal tea to wash sores and treat colds and sore throats. Chewing its leaves treated cramps and stomachaches.

 Madrone wood is highly durable and, when treated, has an inviting hue. It's favored as firewood due to its density and steady, intense burn, often outperforming oak. The Saanich people, however, avoid burning it due to its sacred role in their creation myths. 

Source: NPS,, OHS, and Jack London State Park

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