Friday, August 9, 2013

Arbutus Menziesii ~ Friday's Flower

Last month while vacationing in Canada, we hiked Jocelyn Hill in the Gowlland Range, part of the Urban Mountains in Victoria, BC and were rewarded with this stunning view looking South toward Mt. Wells.
While there isn't a flower in this post, the distinctive Arbutus tree, more commonly known as the Pacific Madrone and Strawberry tree in British Columbia, is worthy of highlighting.  It's an evergreen tree with a unique red papery bark that naturally peels away, exposing a smooth green trunk.

In spring the tree is flushed with sprays of small bell type flowers, while in fall, it has red berries with small barbs that attach to migrating animals to help increase propagation.  Being there in July, neither of these were present.  I found this unusual tree to be so interesting that I might not have noticed the flowers even if they had been there.
The leaves are a glossy dark green on top with a lighter grayish green on the underside and remain on the tree for several years before detaching.
After downed trees are milled, it is burned as firewood, since it is a very hard, dense wood that burns long and hot, even better than oak. 

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