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Arbutus menziesii - Pursh.

Common Name Madrona, Pacific madrone, Pacific Madrone
Family Ericaceae
USDA hardiness 8-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found in a wide range of soils and climates and also in many different habitats[229]. Grows in drier areas on high well-drained slopes usually in rich soils, occasionally on gravel[60, 82].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Arbutus menziesii Madrona, Pacific madrone, Pacific Madrone

(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Arbutus menziesii Madrona, Pacific madrone, Pacific Madrone
(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future


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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Arbutus menziesii is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


A. procera.


Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 92, 105, 161, 183]. A bland taste[229]. Very sour according to another report[226]. After boiling the fruit can be dried for later use[183]. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter[200].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Miscellany;  Stomachic;  Vulnerary.

The leaves are stomachic and vulnerary[168, 257]. They can be used in the treatment of stomach ache and cramps, colds etc[257]. The leaves can be applied as a poultice to burns[257]. The bitter principles in the bark and leaves can be used as an astringent[229]. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of diabetes and externally to treat sores, cuts and wounds[257]. It has also been used as a gargle for sore throats[257].

Other Uses

Charcoal;  Dye;  Miscellany;  Tannin;  Wood.

The inner bark was sometimes used by native North American Indians to make dresses[257]. The leaves can be used to test the temperature of pitch that is being used to waterproof canoes. When the leaves turn black the pitch is ready to use[257]. A brown dye is obtained from the bark[57, 106], it does not need a mordant[168]. Use in spring or summer[168]. The bark is a rich source of tannin[46, 61, 82, 226], it is used medicinally[168]. The tannin is also used as a preservative on wood, ropes etc[257]. Wood - very hard, brittle, durable in water, close grained, heavy, strong. The wood does not split when it dries and so has been used for carving[257]. It is also sometimes used for making furniture, it also produces a fine grade of charcoal[46, 61, 82, 99, 229].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Specimen. Requires a lime-free nutrient-rich well-drained moisture-retentive soil in sun or semi-shade and shelter from cold drying winds, especially when young[200]. Succeeds in a limy soil according to another report[182]. Hardy to about -10°c[200], trees succeed outdoors at Kew but shoots of young plants are apt to be cut back in winter[11]. They grow very well in S.W. England[11]. An ideal plant for the small garden or as a lawn specimen, it has a neat, compact, upright growth habit, retaining its lower leafy branches close to the ground and casting little shade[245]. The flowers have a honey-like fragrance which will pervade the whole garden on calm days[245]. Trees are slow-growing in the wild, living up to 225 years[229], though they are fairly fast growing in cultivation when young[11]. They dislike being transplanted and should be placed in their final positions as soon as possible[11, 134, 166]. Give them some protection in their first winter outdoors. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.


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Seed - best surface sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be soaked for 5 - 6 days in warm water and then surface sown in a shady position in a greenhouse[78]. Do not allow the compost to become dry. 6 weeks cold stratification helps[134]. The seed usually germinates well in 2 - 3 months at 20°c[134]. Seedlings are prone to damp off[184], they are best transplanted to individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and should be kept well ventilated. Grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[K]. Basal cuttings in late winter[200]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, November/December in a frame. Poor percentage[78]. Layering of young wood - can take 2 years[1, 200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Arbutus andrachneGrecian StrawberryTree30
Arbutus arizonicaArizona Maderone21
Arbutus canariensisCanary Madrona20
Arbutus texanaTexas Madrone21
Arbutus unedoStrawberry Tree42
Arbutus x andrachnoides 40
Arbutus xalapensisMadrono, Texas madrone20
Epigaea repensMayflower, Trailing arbutus, Ground Laurel22


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Readers comment

Michael Schichtel   Sun Aug 10 2008

the plant flowers freely but not set seeds.why?

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