Madrone tree for sale


Pacific MadroneOut Of Stock

Pacific Madrone or Madrona is a prized native evergreen tree with brilliant cinnamon-brown bark, white flower-clusters, and bright red-orange edible fruits.

Edible Uses

Pacific Madrone is a native food with edible bark and berries. The bark can be used to make a refreshing tea. The berries can be eaten fresh off the tree, simmered into a non-alcoholic cider, or dried and stored for future use.

In our experience, the berries vary in flavor and texture across their range, depending on growing conditions. For best flavor, wait until berries are fully red to harvest. In addition, we strongly recommend partially drying them to bring our their natural sweetness (if they dry too much, they get rock hard). These semi-dried berries can be refrigerated and become a unique and satisfying addition to granolas, oatmeal, fruit salads, chutneys, or any recipe where dried fruits/berries are called for. They can even be dried completely and ground into a powder to be used as a sweet spice through the Winter.

A bark tea can be made by placing a few bark curls in a quart of water, and bringing to a boil for just a minute or two. It has been described as having notes of fruitiness, cinnamon, and mushrooms, and can be served alone or used to form the base of a soup stock.

The fresh and crushed leaves also have a wide variety of medicinal uses, from treatment of stomach ailments to joint inflammation to skin burns.

Ornamental Qualities

Pacific Madrone has high ornamental value in home landscapes around the West, primarily because of stunning visual qualities of its bark. Madrone bark peels annually, strip by strip, revealing a living mosaic of browns, oranges, reds, and eventually greens up and down its smooth trunk. Indeed, the under-layers of revealed bark are truly a marvel to touch – smooth, hard, and cool, even on a hot day. To boot, the tree is evergreen, providing a gorgeous Winter contrast of reddish bark and berries alongside dark green glossy leaves. What’s more, the Madrone’s unique shape is stoic and picturesque, its spreading branches seemingly reaching in all directions at once.

Environment and Culture

Pacific Madrone is sun-loving tree, home to southern slopes, rocky outcrops, forest openings, sea-side cliffs, and any well-drained soils where conifers find it hard to find purchase. It ranges anywhere from sea level to over 3000 ft. in the mild maritime climates West of the Cascades and Sierra Mountains. Like Oaks, Madrone’s are well-adapted wildfire species, generally able to re-sprout from the burl at its base and restore the forest quickly.

Towards the southern part of its range, Pacific Madrone is naturally found growing alongside Oregon White Oak, California Black Oak, and Canyon Live Oak, as well as Bush Chinquapin. Toward the northern part of its range, it can be found growing overtop dense stands of Salal, Pacific Blackberry, and Pacific Silverweed.

Plant in a rock garden, on a bluff with a bench, or alongside other NW natives. The tree can be kept small by pruning and it’s light shade doesn’t disturb the understory.

Harvest, Care, and Preparation

Pacific Madrones do not like to be transplanted once they are over 1 foot tall. (Our eco-pots allow the roots to be undisturbed.) Once planted on a well-drained sloping site, they are best kept with dry-moist soils even in the summer and with minimal fertilizer – this reduces chance of root rot and disease. After the 3rd year, the tree should be self-sustaining without any further care.

To make tea, the bark can be harvested in succession (and stored dry) as it naturally peels off throughout the year. The berries are ripe in Autumn, and are best-tasting when fully red in color. The berries can be cut in clusters from high limbs, or harvested from the ground during dry Fall days. Once collected, they should be washed and sorted, and then set out on screens or at a very low temperature in the oven to begin drying. See “edible uses” section above for preparation details.

  • Native Range: CA, OR, WA, BC
  • USDA zones: 7-10
  • Ease of Care: Moderate
  • Deer Resistance: Moderate (young shoots vulnerable)
  • Light Requirements: Full Sun to Light-Shade
  • Soil Type: Light-Medium, needs well-drained soils, slopes are helpful
  • Water Requirements: Dry, very drought hardy after establishment
  • Pollination: Self-Fertile
  • Bearing Age: 5 years from establishment
  • Size at Maturity: 25+ Feet
  • Plant Spacing: 10-15 Feet
  • Bloom Time: May
  • Harvest Time: September

Arbutus ‘Marina’ – Hybrid Madrone

Next Plant ” ” Previous Plant Availability Shippable Sizes These plants can ordered online and shipped directly to you or picked up at the nursery. Most of these plants are shipped bare root, read about shipping methods
We don’t have fall availability counts of the shippable sizes for this variety yet. We are still grading and counting plants in some areas of our nursery. Notify me when it’s back! Large Sizes – Pickup Only These plants are too large to ship but can be picked up at the nursery. Schedule a visit. 2 gallon 3 to 4 feet tall – $35.00 each
10 available now.Guaranteed to Grow! Or you’ll get a free replacement. FREE Shipping!
On Orders Of $75 Or More
Shippable Sizes These plants can ordered online and shipped directly to you or picked up at the nursery. Most of these plants are shipped bare root, read about shipping methods
We don’t have fall availability counts of the shippable sizes for this variety yet. We are still grading and counting plants in some areas of our nursery. Notify me when it’s back! Large Sizes – Pickup Only These plants are too large to ship but can be picked up at the nursery. Schedule a visit. 2 gallon 3 to 4 feet tall – $35.00 each
10 available now. #landscape #tree #toprated #shrub #ornamental #flower #evergreen #heat #drought #height=25 #hardiness=0 #sun=4-5 #habit=upright #branch=medium #spread=clumping #end Average Height: 20-30 feet
Hardiness: zones 7-10
Aspect: full sun Leaves: evergreen
Fruit: ripen from green to red, about an inch in diameter, very unique Flowers: aromatic, from October through December
‘Marina’ is a hybrid Madrone variety with dark green evergreen leaves and pink flowers followed by large orange-red fruit in the fall. It is generally considered a better alternative to Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) because it is far less susceptible to root rot. Pacific Madrone is almost impossible to transplant or establish even from potted plants but ‘Marina’ is easily transplanted and establishes quickly. It is very drought tolerant and prefers sites with very little summer irrigation, although it will need watered for the first couple of summers while the roots get established. Good soil drainage significantly improves the tree’s vigour.
Like the Strawberry Tree (which is very likely one of the hybrid parents) the fruit are large and trees are highly productive. However the rest of the tree looks much more like a Pacific Madrone and has the characteristic colorful exfoliating bark and large slightly serrated leaves that those of us in the Pacific Northwest are so familiar with.

Close up of the colorful exfoliating bark
Source: Commons
Close up of the colorful exfoliating bark
Source: Commons
The flowers are popular with pollinators such as hummingbirds
Source: Commons
The leaves are very similar to Pacific Madrone
Source: Commons
The large fruit are very similar to the Strawberry Tree
Source: Commons
The fruit don’t ripen all at once and are staggered throughout the fall and winter
Source: Commons
A multi-trunked ‘Marina’ Madrone tree
Source: Commons
A multi-trunked ‘Marina’ Madrone tree
Source: Heritage Seedlings

Shippable Sizes These plants can ordered online and shipped directly to you or picked up at the nursery. Most of these plants are shipped bare root, read about shipping methods
We don’t have fall availability counts of the shippable sizes for this variety yet. We are still grading and counting plants in some areas of our nursery. Notify me when it’s back! Large Sizes – Pickup Only These plants are too large to ship but can be picked up at the nursery. Schedule a visit. Arbutus Marina 2 gallon 3 to 4 feet tall – $35.00 each
10 available now.

How Your Plants Are Packaged And Shipped

A bare root Sitka Spruce
A 2 gallon Sitka Spruce with all the soil washed away Bare root and washed root are very similar but in the nursery trade typically bare root plants are trees which are grown in the field and dug up in the winter with no soil attached. These plants are typically cheaper due to lower growing costs and are popular for large projects where a large number of plants are needed. When the are dug they lose any roots that grew away from the main root ball and typically these plants will grow a little slower in their first year as they focus on producing new roots before returning to fast top growth. Despite the longer establishment period, bare root plants benefit from the root pruning and will produce a superior long-term root structure than washed root plants. Certain plant species and varieties that are prone to poor root system development are only available bare root for this reason. Bare root plants have high success rates but are not tolerant of planting directly into windy areas, especially with evergreen species as the remaining roots will not be sufficient to withstand drying winds. If you are planting in high-wind areas you should consider ordering washed root plants.
Washed root plants are grown in containers like one or two gallon pots in a standard nursery setting and can ship much earlier in the fall because we don’t have to wait for deep winter dormancy before handling the plants. For shipping the plants are removed from their containers and the soil is gently washed off of the roots, preserving most of the small feeder roots. We make minor root pruning cuts to elimate clumps of circling roots from some plants but typically don’t remove more than about 5-10% of the fine roots, compared to bare root plants which typically lose around 60-70% of the fine feeder roots. Washed root plants are much quicker to establish and are suitable for planting directly in windy locations but because of the higher growing costs and shipping weight will be more expensive than field grown bare root plants. Some plant species that are especially prone to root circling are not grown in containers but only in the field.
For most plant species we choose the growing method that has the highest success rate for that plant’s root structure but some plants can be grown just as well either way so both forms can be listed for sale at once. Under the “availability” section for each plant variety any plants listed by container size (such as 1 gallon, 2 gallon, etc.) are washed root plants while plants listed by height (such as 20-30 inches tall) or any listing saying “field grown” are bare root plants.

Packaging Plants For Shipping

Most plants are shipped wrapped in newspaper, then moistened. Large bundles of plants can be shipped in a single long box. Some plants, usually bamboo, are shipped in their container while others have their roots washed of soil and wrapped in damp paper and plastic. Most plant varieties can be shipped year-round, but sometimes certain plant species or large sizes do best when shipped dormant. You can order these to reserve yours during the summer and then they will be shipped in November when they are ready to go.
Your plants are placed in tight fitting boxes and strapped to the box so they don’t move around and sustain damage. These are 3′ tall Coast Redwoods.


We prune both the tops and the roots of our plants at least once per year while they are growing in our nursery to ensure they develop a strong, dense form. Regular annual pruning goes a long way to ensure a healthy branching structure and this is often a missed step in many nurseries. Pruning a plant back hard after it has been neglected pruning-wise often results in an irregular branch habit or multiple leaders. However, with annual pruning this is not the case and so it is important to start pruning even in the first year of growth. We also prune the roots of our plants every winter which causes them to produce a much more branched structure and helps to elimate tangled masses that hinder future development. Plants that have been root pruned establish themselves much more quickly than root bound plants. Generally, hardwood plants will be pruned in the winter and conifers will be pruned in the summer. Pruning conifers is a little bit trickier because it must be done while the new candles are still young, otherwise it can take an extra year to form a new upright leader bud which slows the next year’s growth rate down.

Pruning For Shipping

Before shipping plants we prune the tops and roots one last time. Conifers will usually have very little top pruning except to balance long branches. Shrubs are usually pruned to around 1-2 feet tall to encourage low branch development and small to medium sized trees are usually pruned to around 36-40 inches. Pruning trees at this height encourages dominant branches to begin forming around 3 feet from the ground which typically looks the best in most situations. However, if you want a tree to have branching start higher (some city codes require trees to not branch below 4 feet) we have longer boxes available. To request taller trees please contact us at least three days before your ship date. Depending on your location and the shipping routes there may be a fee for oversize package handling (usually about $15 for a 60″ box).

Tall trees (Oaks, Ginkgo, large Maples, etc.) are pruned to 40″ to encourage crown development from about 36″ and up
Small and medium trees (short Maples, Redbuds, Stewartia, etc.) are pruned 10-20″ above the prune line from last year
Shrubs (Weigela, Hydrangea, Viburnum, etc.) are pruned to 18″ tall and root pruned one last time

Read More About How Your Plants Are Shipped

All Plants Are Guaranteed To Arrive In Good Condition

If you have any damaged plants please email us at [email protected] and specify which plants were damaged. Please keep all the packaging material in case it needs to be inspected by the shipping company.

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View full sizeThe Oregonian

The Pacific madrone (or, more euphoniously, madrona) is a frustrating tree.

Marvelously adaptable in the wild, native from northern California to British Columbia and inhabiting sites from hot, dry lowlands to high, windswept ridgetops, in the home garden it has a persnickety tendency to turn up its toes and die at any provocation — or any pampering by the indulgent gardener.

Lawn mowers, weeding in the root zone, poor drainage and summer water all stress it, and once stressed it falls victim to fungal diseases, including madrone canker and


root rot.

But some gardeners don’t care — the beauty of this broadleaf evergreen makes them willing to try and try again.

The distinctive appearance of the madrone (

Arbutus menziesii

) makes it readily recognizable as you drive down Interstate 5 — the mahogany bark peels away in strips, revealing a silky-smooth, cinnamon-colored trunk.

The fragrant flowers — small, whitish and urn-shaped, in drooping clusters — first appear March through June after the tree is 5 years old and offer nectar for butterflies and bees.

Later on, the half-inch red-orange berries can hang on until Christmas and provide food for all sorts of birds, including waxwings, robins, band-tailed pigeons, quail, flickers, thrushes, evening grosbeaks and mourning doves, according to

by Russell Link.

Native Americans and early settlers found use for the madrone, too. They ate the berries, steeped the roots and leaves into a medicinal tea, made lotion out of the leaves and bark, and discovered that charcoal from the wood made excellent gunpowder. The twists and turns of the wood make it difficult to use, but the grain is fine-textured and fluid and has been turned into flooring and cabinets.

The madrone can grow as tall as 100 feet in dry, open areas or as short as 20 feet in more shaded, competitive environments.

A member of the heather family (


), madrone sheds its tough leaves every two years in summer. The trees grow about 5 feet a year, depending on the situation, but can be very difficult to get established.

For those who yearn to grow it, the best advice is to pick the right site — full sun; excellent drainage; and where it won’t get summer water; for instance, at the edge of a woodland, away from sprinklers. You’ll also want to put it where its messy habit of dropping bark, leaves, flowers and fruit willy-nilly won’t be a problem. Transplant it carefully — it dislikes being transplanted — or grow it from seed, which may give the best results.

The OSU Extension Service recommends buying the smallest seedlings you can find, and taking special care not to disturb the roots, even noting: “Some authorities recommend buying seedlings that have been marked with north or south on the seedling tube so that you can plant the tree with the same orientation it’s been used to.”

View full sizeThe Oregonian

Throw some rotting wood in the hole when you plant it; evidence shows madrone roots have a needy relationship to mycorrhizal fungi in the soil.

It’s best to plant more seedlings than you actually want so you can afford to lose some.

Water them conscientiously until established, then leave them alone. The watchword, from those who’ve grown madrone successfully, is “studied neglect.”

Another option is to grow madrone’s cousin,


‘Marina,’ a hybrid that has similar bark, grows faster and is easier to cultivate.

– Homes & Gardens staff

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Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii).
Photo by brewbrooks (CC 2.0)

“What’s with the naked tree?” My hiking partner turned to follow my gaze. His eyes landed on a most peculiar tree.

About 40 feet high with wide branches, it might have been quite normal – except most of its bark was missing! Its deep red trunk changed to pale green toward the top. Even its leaves were different; Dark glossy green above and light green beneath. The tree looked utterly alien against the background of mixed oak and Douglas fir. I was a new arrival to Northern California and had never seen anything like it.

My friend shrugged, “It’s the Refrigerator Tree.” And without another word we continued down the trail. I had seen my first Madrone.

Where’s Waldo

This tree is the odd man out, the scrappy misfit. In California, you find it at the edge of forests of oak and Douglas fir. It grows alongside Manzanita in dry chaparral. It even grows in coastal redwood forest.

Everywhere it grows, it thirsts for light. It quests for any break in the forest canopy. Sculptural, showy, twisting, bending, the Madrone is the agile gymnast of the forest. Sometimes I lose my balance tilting my head to follow its corkscrew course skyward.

Early Spanish explorers named the Madrone Tree (Arbutus menziesii) from the word madroño (strawberry tree). They thought it resembled a Mediterranean tree bearing that name.

Madrone is a hardwood and its startling appearance is due to its showy red bark. It is easy to mistake small trees for Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.). They are actually plant-family cousins. But its green two-tone leaves give the Madrone away.

Madrone shooting skyward

The branches spread wide toward the top.

Lower branches die when shaded by the canopy

How it gets its nickname

In June and July, Madrones shed all of their bark. The deep red gives way to an exceptionally smooth green trunk. If you place your hand where the bark has peeled, the tree feels downright cold. Not icy cold, but cool enough to refresh an overheated hiker. This has earned the Madrone the nickname, “Refrigerator Tree.” During the hikes I lead, I joke that if you want to cool down in a hurry, you should hug this tree.

I have heard two explanations for its remarkable frigidity. Both may have an element of truth. The first is that the tree stores so much water that its temperature is cooler than the air around it. A second explanation is that it is not cooler than any other type of tree. But the Madrone’s smooth naked trunk has much more surface area than a tree with bark. When you place your hand against the tree, the trunk acts like a giant heat sink. It conducts heat away from your palms at a rapid rate.

Regardless of the explanation, the Refrigerator Tree certainly earns its nickname.

A hiker encounters his first Madrone

But why does a Madrone shed its bark?

Scientists don’t know. One hypothesis is that shedding removes any insects or parasites that may have built up in the bark. But these parasites or insects may no longer exist in modern times, and the tree’s behavior is vestigial from its ancient past.

The Madrone sheds its bark in June and July

Flowers and Berries

Flowering begins in March. Their delicate lantern shapes create shimmering white inflorescences. Usually the flowers are so high above the ground we rarely notice. But once on a group hike, we encountered a tree whose flowers were only six feet off the ground. One of my companions remarked, “The flowers are edible” and shoveled a handful into his mouth. I didn’t know if they were or weren’t, so I abstained. After much research, I cannot find any authoritative information about whether the flowers are edible. So I suspect my friend was being a little bit of a test pilot. But he still lives among us no worse for wear.

Madrone inflorescence

The berries, however, are edible. In September and October the ends of branches, loaded with berries, tumble to the ground. This might seem like a windfall (pardon the pun) but it’s not. The berries are watery and bland. Occasionally I find a hint of sweetness. But most of the time I don’t even bother to sample them.

The berries are small and found in clusters at the end of branches blown to the ground.

Importance to wildlife

Birds relish Madrone berries. These include robins, cedar waxwings, band-tailed pigeons, dark-eyed junco, thrush, and quail. Mule deer, raccoons, ringtails, and bear also eat the berries.

Madrones provide good habitat and nesting places for many bird species. Cavity nesting birds that use Pacific Madrone include red-breasted sapsuckers, woodpeckers, chickadees, house wrens, and western bluebirds.

The leaves are not palatable to most wildlife. Mule deer, for example, generally do not browse mature leaves. But they will eat the new shoots that sprout after a fire.

Traditional Uses

I am not going to devote much time to edible or medicinal uses. This is because I find a wide variety of uses coming from different sources. But the listed uses are rarely the same! So it is difficult to establish which of the uses is credible.

I do believe that some California tribes used the berries of Pacific Madrone for food and to make cider. I also believe they dried the berries and strung them to make necklaces. But I have some doubts about many of the proposed medicinal uses of this tree.

Not Made for the Shade

Madrones can’t take the shade. They need light or they die. Branches eclipsed by the forest canopy quickly die, even while the rest of the tree grows.

Madrone depends on periodic fires to reduce the forest canopy so it doesn’t shade them out. But the growing human population in California put fire suppression policies in place that prevent this from happening. As a result, the Pacific Madrone is being out-competed by species that can better tolerate shade.

This is an example of how human fire suppression policy is actually bad for the environment. The Madrone is disappearing, and it will be dearly missed if it disappears forever.

Do you have a Favorite Weird Tree?

Do you have a favorite “weird” tree? Tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear all about it.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like others in the Nature Section and Parent’s Corner.

The forests of the Pacific Northwest contain more evergreens than almost anywhere in the United States. Altogether, Washington’s forests are home to about 25 native tree species. Just as all plants grow best when they live in the environment they are most suited for – cactus in the desert, grasses in the plains – tall, green firs and cedars prefer our cool, wet winters and moderate summers. Below are a few of the more popular tree species that you’ll find in our state.

Seven Common Washington Trees
Western Hemlock

Washington State Tree

Look for:

Short, flat needles with rounded tips and two white lines on the underside. Needles grow on sides of branches forming a flat spray. Cones small, under 1 inch. Thin bark with red inside. Droopy top.

Find it:

Mostly Coastal, also Lowland and Mountain. Found on moist sites.

Used for:

Lumber, treated lumber, newsprint, paper and paper products.

Look for:

Single yellow-green needles, about 1 inch long that encircle the stem and twist at the base with two white bands underneath. Cones up to 4 inches long, with pitchfork-shaped bracts protecting the seeds. Bark deeply furrowed on mature trees. Top erect.

All four regions, most common in Coastal and Lowland.

Most important lumber tree in the U.S., also used for plywood, Christmas trees, paper and paper products.

Western Red Cedar

Tiny, flat, sale-like needles that grow in alternating pairs, tightly pressed to the stem forming spray-like branches. Very small cones, under 1 inch long. Stringy bark that can be pulled off in long strips.

Mostly Coastal and Lowland, also Mountain and Eastside. Usually grows in moist areas and in shade of other trees.

Shakes, shingles, decking, caskets, interior and exterior siding and fencing.

Sharp, stiff, bluish-green needles 1-inch long needles that encircle the twigs. Pale, slender cones up to 4 inches long. Bark forms plates the size of silver dollars. Most tops have been attacked and killed by the Spruce budworm.

Coastal and Lowland

Lumber, paper, musical instruments, and ladders.

Ponderosa Pine

Long, needles, 5-10 inches, yellow-green, 3 per bundle. Cones 3-6 inches long, round with sharp tips. Bark of older trees orange-brown, with broad, flat scaly ridges and deep furrows.

Eastside (on dry soils)

Lumber, decorative molding, furniture wood and pilings.

Red Alder

Oval-shaped leaves, 3-6 inches long, shiny green, with serrated edges and pointed tips. Cones small 1 inch. Splotchy gray bark.

Coastal and Lowland

Most important hardwood in the Northwest. Furniture wood, pallets, paper, and paper products.

Pacific Yew

Dark-green needles, 1 inch, with pointed ends. Fruit is a single seed surrounded by a scarlet, cup-shaped “berry.” Thin, dark purplish, scaly bark. Small tree that lives in the shade of other trees.

Coastal, Lowland, and Mountain

Archery bows and cancer-fighting drugs.

The Tree of Choice

Because it grows so well in all of our forest regions, and because its wood is prized worldwide for its strength and durability, Douglas-fir is often the tree of choice for many Washington forest landowners. The tree’s intolerance of shade means Douglas-fir grows best in open sunlight. That’s why it does so well in land cleared by harvesting, wildfire, or even volcanic eruption.

Native madrones are special to the Northwest

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Madrone, madrona, madrono, arbutus. Wherever you live along the Pacific coast and whatever it’s called where you are, it’s the same tree: Arbutus menziesii, with leathery evergreen leaves, red bark peeling from a tan trunk, whitish flowers and bright clusters of reddish-orange berries.

There are probably few plants that are more strongly identified with this area or are held in greater affection than the madrone.

If you have one in your garden, it may seem to be always shedding leaves, bark, flowers or berries. But many northwest gardeners who’ve tried to transplant one without success would gladly pay that price.

In Oregon, the common name of these trees is madrone. According to Linda McMahan, native plant expert and horticulturist with the Yamhill County office of the Oregon State University Extension Service, madrones don’t take well to tending by overly conscientious gardeners. They’re more likely to show up in rocky arid areas where other trees don’t survive, along an inhospitable roadside bank or in the middle of a dense Douglas fir stand than in a well-watered garden. In fact, McMahan says if you do coax a madrone to grow in your garden, water it infrequently and deeply, if at all, once it’s well-established.

Madrones are notoriously difficult to transplant. Some authorities recommend buying seedlings that have been marked with north or south on the seedling tube so that you can plant the tree with the same orientation it’s been used to. Since madrones don’t tolerate having their roots disturbed, buy the smallest ones you can find. Use exceptional care planting even small seedlings, not to cramp the roots. To increase your chances of success, buy and plant more than you think you really want. You can always dig the extra ones up later – or just enjoy having more madrones than you’d planned on.

One theory to explain why madrones are so difficult to transplant is that they rely heavily on a complex relationship with fungal filaments in the soil. These fungal filaments grow together with plant roots to form extensive networks called myccorhizae. These bring additional water and nutrients to the plant. Myccorhizae can increase the working surface area of the roots by as much as a thousand-fold.

If you can plant your madrone seedling in soil dug up from under a mature madrone tree, where myccorhizal relationships are already established, you might be able to give yours a head start.

Since madrones tend to shed leaves and bark over a period of several months throughout the summer, consider putting yours in an area that doesn’t need to be manicured. Then as long as the tree doesn’t have blight-blackened leaves, you can let both leaves and bark dry and crumble where they fall.

Leaf blight shows up as blackened leaves during the winter and can be widespread over the tree. At least some of the various types of fungus that cause madrone leaves to blacken are now thought to be endemic. The good news is that, while the black leaves are unsightly, they usually don’t seem to harm the tree substantially. The new leaves emerge shortly before the old ones drop, and soon the tree looks healthy again. However, if you have blighted leaves, try removing the blackened leaves promptly from under and even from the tree itself as the new ones emerge. Within a couple of years this method may help to reduce the blight to much less noticeable levels.

Madrones tend to have irregular growth forms, sometimes putting out long bare branches with large clumps of leaves at the ends, especially if they’re growing among other more aggressive trees where they need to twist and reach for the light. On rocky outcrops along some coastal stretches, you can find clusters of small madrones that have been stunted and gnarled by the wind. On the other hand, if they have little competition for space and little stress, they can also grow into a more classic shade-tree form with heavily leaved branches above a straight thick trunk.

Seattle had a madrone with an 11-foot circumference on its Heritage Tree tour until 2004 when it succumbed to disease.

Whatever their size, the individuality of madrones is always immediately recognizable by their distinctive bark and leaves and is one of the charms of this tree.

The clusters of small whitish flowers in the spring attract insects, and mature madrone trunks attract woodpeckers. Other birds flock to the red berries in droves in late summer and fall. The berries are edible but rather tasteless for humans.

Other species of Arbutus are native to the eastern Mediterranean and to southern Europe, but madrone grows only on the Pacific Coast of North America, primarily from northern California to southern British Columbia.

Harvesting Wild Madrone Berries

There is nothing like picking your own luscious ripe madrone berries right off the tree.

They are one of my favorites for making recipes more vibrant, tasty and wild!

We love to think of the energy and strength of the tree, from the roots up through it’s massive trunk, feeding the berries themselves.

Usually they are growing from big, beautiful trees that have a magical, fairy-like quality to them. For this reason we call them the “fairy berry”. If there are fairies, this is the berry they would eat…. we just know it!

A Wild Edible Berry

Native American peoples ate wild madrone berries growing in Northwestern U.S. and Canada.

They can be eaten right from the tree, blended with other foods or dried. It is always good to have a wild ingredient with your meals and drinks.

Wild edibles give us something you can not find in cultivated foods.

That is why we include them when ever possible with all the top 10 superfoods in smoothies and desserts.

We have used these berries in raw cheesecakes using raw nuts, irish moss (to thicken), and other superfoods like maca root and bee pollen. VERY Yum!

Our Madrone Berry Harvesting Adventure

We went out this morning for a hike exploring unfamiliar country hills where we are currently traveling.

We were happily marching along, taking in the forest scents and brisk clean air, when all of a suddenly out of know where appears this beautiful grove of madrone trees growing on the hillside.

It was a sight to behold when we first caught a glimpse of the red-orange balls and madrone berries galore!

An exciting moment…. the big strong trees were literally loaded full, just waiting for someone to pick them before they dropped to the ground! we gladly offered our services.

It is early Jan now in Northern California and they are perfectly ripe! They are so sweet and have a taste similar to blueberries. Their skin is slightly more fibrous, maybe to endure colder climates.

Really, how often do you see berries growing in the winter. They must have a strong and hardy energy to pass along to us. They are such a bright treat to discover on a cold and cloudy day!

General Rules When Wildcrafting

It is important when you wildcraft anything that you only take what you will actually use and make sure to leave a good amount for the birds and other creatures that might depend on them.

Harvesting wild plants or wild fruits and nuts is easy, you just need to make sure it is permitted in the location you are in.

Usually, public or wilderness areas are free for the picking and there will be signs if this in not the case.

When on privately owned land it is always good to ask first, most people don’t mind if you collect their fruit, especially when you notice it is just falling to the ground.

Always wildcraft with respect and care for the plants, wildlife and people around you.


It is extremely important that you positively identify any wild edible plant before you harvest and eat it. There are many poisonous and even deadly look-a-likes, so it is good to err on the side of caution and use a plant identification guide to get to know the specific wild edibles in your local area.

Madrone Tree

Common names

  • Arbutus
  • Madrone Tree
  • Pacific Madrone
  • Strawberry Tree

The madrone or madrona tree (scientific name Arbutus menziesii) belongs to the heath family (Ericaceae). This species has its origin in North America’s Pacific Coast and is found growing naturally in the area extending from the northern parts of California to the southern regions of British Columbia. In addition, the Arbutus genus is also native to southern Europe and the eastern regions of the Mediterranean.

Generally, madrone trees are believed to be very friendly trees, as they provide nesting places and perches for an assortment of bird species. The trees produce reddish-orange berries, which are excellent foods for birds and wildlife. It has been found that the woodpeckers especially prefer the twisted, full-grown trunks of madrone trees. The Arbutus genus is evergreen tree that produces broad, leathery leaves. These trees can grow up to a height of anything between 30 feet and 70 feet. They can thrive on a variety of soils as well as in ecological conditions.

Way back in 1769, a Franciscan missionary named Father Juan Crespi, who kept the diary of the Portola Expedition, which was undertaken to locate sites for establishing Franciscan missions throughout California, named these trees as “Madrono”. Strawberry trees of the European species, which also produced red berries, were his inspiration to name the trees such. On the other hand, the species name of the plant Arbutus is attributed to a British botanist named Archibald Menzies (1754 to 1842). In fact, Arbutus is name for strawberry trees in Latin.

Although the madrone trees shed their leaves and bark regularly, they are considered to be a highly ornamental species, which is valued for its flashy flowers, vividly colored fruits (berries), beauty of its crooked trunks and multicoloured bark. In Europe as well as the United States, people cultivate madrone trees for landscaping.

It is worth mentioning here that the madrone trees are also very familiar bee plants.

Parts used

Leaves, berries, bark.


Madrone tree leaves possess stomachic properties and are considered to be vulnerary or useful for healing wounds. These leaves are often used for treating stomach aches as well as cramps, colds and other conditions. The leaves of madrone trees are also applied topically in the form of a poultice to heal burn injuries. On the other hand, the bitter compounds present in the leaves and bark of this tree can be employed in the form of an astringent. The bark is used to prepare an infusion, which has been traditionally used for treating diabetes. This bark infusion is applied topically to heal cuts, wounds and sores. In addition, this infusion is effective when used as a gargle to heal sore throats.

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Native Indians in North America have been using the madrone fruits or berries for making cider, and the bark of the tree is used to prepare a tea that assists in treating colds as well as sore throats. In addition, the leaves of madrone leaves can be chewed to alleviate stomach aches and pain due to cramps. It is easy to obtain madrone bark, as it peels off on its own. On the other hand, it can be difficult to obtain the bark if one has to reach for them.

The early Native Americans residing in California used the Pacific madrone for a variety of purposes. These people collected madrone berries fresh and used them to prepare unfermented cider. They also consumed the dried berries and after cooking them. These Native Americans dried the reddish madrone berries and made them into a necklace and wore them. In fact, the berries and leaves of the madrone tree made wonderful ornaments for these people. The leaves of this tree are used for therapeutic purposes and are recommended for people enduring cramps, stomach aches, skin sores as well as a variety of other health conditions. Even people engaged in tanning leather found out that the madrone tree bark was useful for them.

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The Native North Americans sometimes used the inner bark of the madrone tree to make dresses. Interestingly, they used the leaves of this tree to check the temperature of pitch used to make canoes waterproof. When the colors of the leaves turn black it is an indication that the pitch has reached the right temperature and, hence, is ready for use. The bark is also used to obtain a brown dye, which does not require any mordant. This dye can be used in spring as well as summer. In addition, the bark of madrone tree contains high concentrations of tannin and is therefore used for therapeutic purposes. Apart from its medicinal use, tannin is also employed in the form of a preservative on ropes, wood and other substances.

The timber of madrone trees is extremely tough, easily broken and durable even in water. This wood is close grained, strong and heavy. Madrone tree wood does not come apart even after drying out and, hence, it is often used for carving. Occasionally, the wood of this tree is also employed for making furniture. In addition, this wood also produces excellent quality charcoal.

Although the Native Indians of North America consumed madrone tree berries, which were astringent owing to the presence of high levels of tannin, they preferred to chew them and also made a cider from them. In addition, they used the madrone tree fruits or berries in the form of a fishing bait. The leaves and bark of this tree were earlier used for treating cramps, stomach aches, and skin disorders. Several mammal as well as bird species consume the madrone berries. Some of the animals and birds that prefer these berries include cedar waxwings, American robins, a variety of thrushes, band-tailed pigeons, bears and mule deer.

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In fact, mule deer also consume the young shoots of madrone when the trees are regenerating following a wildfire. This tree is highly beneficial for several bird species that use the madrone trees to build their nests in. Birds seem to select these trees growing in mixed woodlands for building their nests excessively in relation to their numbers. Wood of madrone trees is hard-wearing and has a warm hue following finishing. Hence, this wood is increasingly preferred as a flooring material, particularly in the region of the Pacific Northwest. The wood of madrone tree can also be used to make a beautiful veneer. However, during the process undertaken to dry the wood, large pieces of the lumber enfold severely as well as unpredictably. As a result, madrone wood is not used very widely. The wood of madrone tree is also burned by the locals for fuel. Since the madrone wood is extremely hard as well as compact, it burns for long hours and emits great heat. Sometimes, the duration for which this wood burns and the heat it emits, exceeds these qualities of oak.

In the past, Native Indian tribes in the West Coast of North America consumed the berries of madrone trees and used the bulbous roots of the tree to make utensils for eating. It seems that the reddish-brown berries of this tree have some narcotic attributes.

Habitat and cultivation

Madrone trees are often grown for landscape uses. When cultivated for this purpose, the trees require a soil that is free of lime, rich in nutrient, moisture-retentive and well-drained. This species can grow in full sun as well as partial shade, but require adequate protection from cold, dry winds, particularly when the plants are young. Another report claims that madrone trees can thrive even in a limy soil. The plants can tolerate quite low temperatures up to roughly -10C. In fact, this is a perfect plant for being grown in any small garden or in the form of a lawn specimen, because madrone trees have an orderly, dense, erect growth pattern. The trees retain their lower branches which are laden with large leaves near the ground, thereby casting some shadow.

The flowers of madrone trees give out a fragrance that reminds one of honey. When the days are not too windy, but calm, this fragrance will spread out across the entire garden. When growing in the wild, madrone trees have a sluggish growth, but they usually live for as long as 225 years. However, cultivated plants of this species have a fairly rapid growth when they are young. However, young madrone plants loathe being disturbed and transplanted and, hence, they ought to be set in their permanent positions at the earliest. When the plants are growing outdoors, they need some shelter from the winter cold, at least for the first couple of years of their existence. Madrone trees are highly defiant against honey fungus. The flowers of madrone trees are attractive as well as very fragrant.

Madrone trees have their original home in the western coast of North America – ranging from British Columbia in Canada (mainly the Gulf Islands as well as the Vancouver Island) to California in the United States. Madrone trees are primarily found growing naturally in the Oregon Coast Range, Puget Sound as well as California Coast Ranges. However, they are also found scattered on the slopes in the western side of Sierra Nevada as well as the Palomar Mountain in California. According to the documentation of one author, in the southern range, madrone trees grow as far as the Baja California located in Mexico. However, there are others who suggest that as of now there is no record of any madrone tree growing in places so far south. Even the madrone trees do not figure in the modern survey undertaken to document the existence of native trees in that region.

Since the madrone trees loathe being disturbed, transplanting them is a difficult task. As a result, the seedlings should directly be sown outdoors while they are still small where you want the trees to grow. The mortality of madrone due to transplantation is high when the plant has grown over 1 foot (30 cm) in height. Before you transplant a madrone seedling outdoors, ensure that the site receives full sunlight, has a proper drainage system and the soil is free from lime, however, at times you will find that a seedling will establish itself well even on a shell midden. It would be best if you transplant the madrone seedling on a south-facing or west-facing slope. When grown in its place of origin, the tree does not require any additional water or food after it has established itself well. While providing them with water and food will ensure the growth of the trees, this will also make them more vulnerable to various diseases.

Ideally, you should sow the madrone seeds in a cold frame immediately after they ripen. Before sowing the seeds, they need to be soaked in hot water for about anything between five to six days and then sown on the surface in a greenhouse where there is enough shade. Ensure that the compost never becomes dry. Providing the seeds with six weeks stratification will help them germinate faster. Generally, madrone seeds take about two to three months to germinate when they are kept in 20°C.

The seedlings of madrone are susceptible to damp off and, hence, it is best to transplant them in individual pots after they have grown sufficiently large so that they can be handled. It is also important to ensure that there is proper air circulation in the area where you are growing the seedlings in pots. Preferably, you should grow the seedlings in greenhouses throughout their first winter and subsequently plant them in their permanent sites outdoors during the later part of spring when the last date of expected frost has passed.

Madrone can also be propagated from basal cuttings undertaken during the end of winter. You should always take the cuttings from mature wood from the existing season’s growth. November/ December is the best time to undertake the cuttings, which need to be planted in a frame. However, survival rate of these cuttings is said to be very poor. You can also propagate madrone by the layering process. In this case, you need to layer young wood, but this process is extremely slow and it may take as long as two years for the new plant to emerge.

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Texas Madrone, Naked Indian, Lady’s Leg, Texas Arbutus, Madrono
Arbutus xalapensis


Texas madrone occurs in the Trans-Pecos and areas of the Edwards Plateau. In early spring it produces clusters of the small, white lantern-shaped flowers that are so typical of members of the heath family. The yellow-orange to bright red berries that ripen in the fall rival those of any female holly tree. The evergreen leaves are dark green above and paler on the underside. Perhaps the greatest beauty of Texas madrone is its lovely exfoliating bark. When the older layers slough off, the newer bark is smooth and can range from white to orange through shades of apricot to dark red. Other members of the heath family grow on highly acidic soils in wet sites, but Texas madrone grows in a more xeric climate, must have good drainage, and grows equally well on slightly acidic to alkaline soils. In a landscape situation, the amount of water it receives and the type of drainage are much more important than the type of soil in which it grows.

Plant Habit or Use: small tree

Exposure: sun partial sun

Flower Color: white to pink

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: yellow-orange to bright red berries

Height: to 40 ft.

Width: to 40 ft.

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements: low

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7

Additional Comments:

Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii)
PHYLUM Anthophyta
CLASS Eudicotyledonae
ORDER Ericales
FAMILY Ericaceae
With their red-orange, satiny smooth trunks, big bright green evergreen leaves, and clusters of red berries, madrones are among the most beautiful and easily recognized trees of the Pacific Northwest. They are called Arbutus in their restricted range in southwestern Canada, and from there they occur south all along the Pacific coast to northern Baja California. They tend to be in climatically drier areas in this wet-forest zone, often on rocky hillsides or in areas of coarse, well-drained soils. They are shade-intolerant so often grow on the edges of forests. They are quite common overlooking salt water in many areas.
Not especially large in most areas, Pacific Madrones can nevertheless reach 30 m in height, with a trunk over 2 m in diameter. The young bark is pale greenish, turning red-brown as the tree grows and eventually peeling off in big clumps. The smooth, leathery leaves are oval, up to 15 cm in length, shiny dark green above and paler below. They are attacked by both insects and fungi and are often discolored and spotted, but this damage is cosmetic and does not affect the overall fitness of the tree.
The flowers are urn-shaped, typical of the heather family, and white, about 6 mm long. In large drooping clusters, they are quite fragrant. The 1-cm granular orange-red berries are dispersed by birds and not particularly eatable by humans and other mammals. They are very popular with birds in fall, especially Band-tailed Pigeons.
In recent years, many madrones have died. They are apparently easily infected with fungal diseases, and root-rot and canker fungi are implicated in this rather obvious mortality. The root-rot fungus is related to the one that caused the potato famine in Ireland during the last century. Cankers cause big scars on the bark and may effectively girdle the tree. Madrones are apparently quite sensitive to environmental perturbations, and the stresses caused by changes in soil compaction, drainage, drought and changing climate make the trees more susceptible to pathogens.
Madrone wood is hard and brittle and not much used by humans. The berries are inedible to humans, and the tree is quite difficult to transplant, although it is carried by some nurseries. Nevertheless, it remains an icon of Northwest coastal forests and is a welcome sight where it persists in urban and suburban areas.

Arbutus menziesii: Pacific Madrone

Although the Madrone is arguably one of the most dramatically beautiful of our native trees, it is not suitable for every garden! If you have the space, patience and proper growing conditions for this tree however, you will be well-rewarded with a specimen that has something of interest all year long.

The most striking feature is reddish bark that gradually peels away to expose the smooth coppery bark beneath. Flowers are clusters of bright white urn shapes that appear in spring, followed by small, round red-orange fruit with a somewhat “warty” appearance that are a favorite of several species of birds. Evergreen leaves are long, glossy ovals of dark green. There is much to love and admire about the Arbutus, and it is truly no wonder gardeners are willing to take on the challenges of growing it!

It is no accident that Arbutus menziesii is found growing on dry, rocky slopes and bluffs – this tree is fairly adamant about having relatively poor soil and superb drainage. Typical garden irrigation usually provides more water than they want or need – a little benign neglect in a dry part of the garden once the tree is established will suit it just fine. And because it is so adaptable to life on bluffs and slopes, it is a good choice for providing stability and preventing erosion.

Madrones tend to be slow growing – slower still if receiving too much water, especially at the beginning – and unfortunately the situation can’t be gotten around by starting off with a larger plant, because larger trees have a more difficult time in transplanting and getting established. So, unfortunately you will have to start small and be patient in order to successfully grow an Arbutus.

And, what with the peeling bark, dropping leaves (broadleaf evergreens by nature still experience some leaf-drop) and fruit, there is a considerable amount of “litter” that will accumulate; it’s not a problem, but makes it more suitable for a “wilder” corner of the garden.

All this is by no means meant to discourage you from planting a Madrone. It is truly a uniquely beautiful tree with year-round interest and great bird value. There are just a few cautions about what makes a successful setting for this treasured native, which hopefully gives any willing gardener the opportunity to enjoy this tree in their landscape for years to come.

Arbutus menziesii: Pacific Madrone blooms. Arbutus menziesii: Pacific Madrone fruit.


Habit: a stately broadleaf evergreen tree with a rounded, spreading crown composed of heavy, irregularly shaped limbs. Usually single stemmed but will form multiple trunks or re-sprout from an underground woody burl if the main stem is damaged or destroyed. Pacific madrone has three types of bark. The bark on branches and younger trunks is thin and papery, terra cotta orange-red, that peels and flakes off to reveal a smooth, inner layer of bark in shades of cream to olive green. Older trunks develop a thick, brownish-red, fissured bark. The 3-6 inch (8-15cm) leathery, dark green shiny leaves are oblong and remain on the tree for two years before they turn orange to red and begin falling off in June to July. Fragrant bell-shaped flowers appear in large, drooping clusters at the ends of the branches from March through May. The small, spherical, pebbled skinned fruits ripen to a bright orange-red in the fall and persist into December.

Ecology: Arbutus menziesii is native to the Pacific Coast occurring from Southwestern British Columbia, southward through Washington, Oregon, and California in the coastal mountains and west slopes of the Sierra Nevada. It is found in hot, dry lowland sites as well as dry foothills, canyons, humid coastal sites, and south facing wooded slopes up to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) in elevation. These trees are commonly associated with other species: oak, redwood, mixed evergreen forests; and rarely occur in pure stands.

Growing Conditions: full sun or light shade and dry well drained infertile soil; drought tolerant but has a low tolerance to frost. Soils supporting Pacific madrone usually exhibit low moisture content throughout most of the summer.

Having a wide and deep spreading root system, Arbutus menziesii makes a good choice for providing stability and preventing erosion. The trees host butterfly caterpillars and provide perches and nesting places for many bird species. The flowers are a nectar source for bees, butterflies, and other insects. Small mammals and numerous birds eat the fruits.

Native Plant Descriptions

Woodbrook Nursery is one of the best retail sources for Pacific Northwest Native Plants in the greater Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia area. Why grow native plants? They are adapted to our wet winters and dry summers, unlike most non-native plants. They also provide food and shelter for indigenous wildlife. So when adding to your landscape, or doing a new landscape, do consider the advantages of these environmentally friendly plants.

Click on the name of the plant and you can see additional information and more pictures of each plant.


In the plant list, non-natives have an asterisk after the scientific name, such as:
Scientific name*

Deciduous Trees

Acer macrophyllum

Bigleaf Maple

A vigorous growing native maple tree that grows rapidly to 75-100 ft. high and 50 ft. wide.

Alnus rubra

Red Alder

Alders, thriving in areas and soils in which other plants barely survive, are very important in land reclamation.

Betula papyrifera

Canoe Birch, Paper Birch

As this specimen native tree matures, the bark develops creamy-white areas and peals off in papery layers.

Cornus nuttalli

Pacific Dogwood

Our native dogwood tree flowers in April or May before its leaves are out.

Crataegus douglassii

Western (Douglas) Hawthorn

A small native tree growing to 20 ft.

Fraxinus latifolia

Oregon Ash

This native tree does well in wet, low-lying areas.

Malus (Pyrus) fusca

Pacific Crabapple

Small native tree up to 15-30 ft. high, spreading 10-20 ft..

Metasequoia glyptostroboides*

Dawn Redwood

A prehistoric deciduous conifer, once thought to be extinct, was rediscovered in China.

Populus tremuloides

Quaking Aspen

An ornamental or reclamation native plant known for its quivering leaves and distinctive greenish white bark.

Populus trichocarpa

Black Cottonwood

This native tree grows rapidly. Tolerates moisture.

Prunus emarginata

Bitter Cherry

Small native tree or large shrub growing to 45 ft. tall and 15-25 ft. wide.

Prunus virginiana


Small native tree or large shrub growing to 25-35 ft. high and 12-20 ft. wide.

Quercus garryana

Oregon White Oak

A slow growing native tree that develops an intricate branching pattern when older.

Rhamnus purshiana


A small native tree growing up to 30 ft..

Salix hookeriana

Hooker’s Willow

Large willow growing to about 18 ft..

Salix lasiandra

Red or Pacific Willow

A small tree or multi-stemmed shrub.

Salix scouleriana

Scouler’s Willow

Rapidly growing large shrub or small tree growing to 30 ft.

Salix sitchensis

Sitka Willow

Small tree or shrub growing to 24 ft.

Sorbus scopulorum

Western Mountain Ash

A shrub or small native tree growing up to 12 ft.

Coniferous Trees

Abies amabilis

Pacific Silver Fir

A dense, conifer with a cylindrical, or conical shape, commonly found at high elevations.

Abies balsameas*

Balsam Fir

A good specimen or used as a Christmas tree.

Abies bournmuelleriana*

Turkish Fir

A good specimen or used as a Christmas tree.

Abies concolor

White Fir

A slow-growing, broadly pyramidal tree, growing to 75 or 100 feet..

Abies lasiocarpa

Subalpine Fir

This popular landscape plant grows slowly and is used extensively for specimen plantings.

Abies procera

Noble Fir

Usually found at higher elevations, the Noble Fir is a fine specimen tree and one of the most highly prized Christmas trees.

Calocedrus decurrens

Incense Cedar

Native to Oregon and California, this tree also does quite well in the Puget Sound area.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Port Orford Cedar, Lawson Cypress

A widely used ornamental conifer.

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Alaska Yellow Cedar

Graceful conifer with drooping branches, native from Alaska to California.

Juniperus scopulorum

Rocky Mountain Juniper

A shrubby, evergreen tree found in dry, rocky habitats in the San Juan Islands.

A prehistoric deciduous conifer, once thought to be extinct, was rediscovered in China.

Picea sitchensis

Sitka Spruce

This tree is commonly found in the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula.

Pinus contorta contorta

Shore Pine

Common from sea level to timberline, this medium sized pine tree is useful both in sandy areas subjected to salt spray or in ornamental gardens.

Pseudotsuga menziesii

Douglas Fir

A very common NW conifer, the Douglas Fir graces many a neighborhood already.

Sequoia giganteum

Giant Sequoia

Native to the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, it can grow to be one of the tallest trees in the world.

Sequoia sempervirens

Coast Redwood

Coastal redwood tree.

Taxus brevifoli

Pacific Yew

Evergreen understory shrub to small tree 6-45′ tall.

Thuja plicata

Western Red Cedar

Highly valued for its rot resistant wood, this tree is also a valuable, attractive ornamental.

Tsuga heterophylla

Western Hemlock

A graceful tree distinguished by its drooping leader.

Tsuga mertensiana

Mountain Hemlock

Slow growing conifer common to the Cascades and Olympics.

Broadleaf Evergreen Trees

Arbutus menziesii

Pacific Madrone

This elegant, broad-leaved evergreen tree, has a distinctive smooth reddish brown trunk with exfoliating bark on upper branches.

Deciduous Shrubs

Acer circinatum

Vine Maple

This distinctive plant is as highly valued as an urban ornamental as it is in native plantings.

Acer glabrum

Douglas Maple

A deciduous shrub that can reach about 30 feet.

Amelanchier alnifolia


Valued by English gardeners, this attractive plant merits wider use in ornamental gardens, as well as in naturalized settings.

Cornus sericea Flaviramea

Yellow Twig Dogwood

Like the red twig Dogwood, but with yellow stems.

Cornus stolonifera or Cornus sericea

Redtwig Dogwood, Red Osier, Creek Dogwood

With red stems in winter, this plant is highly valued ornamentally, but also does quite well in the naturalized landscape.

Corylus cornuta californica

Western Hazelnut

A tall, spreading deciduous shrub with edible hazelnuts favored by squirrels.

A small native tree growing to 20 ft.

Holodiscus discolor

Ocean Spray

In spring, this member of the Rose Family provides quite a floral show along many NW roads.

Lonicera involucrata

Black Twinberry

This is the largest of the shrubby honeysuckles, reaching 10 feet tall.

Small native tree up to 15-30 ft. high, spreading 10-20 ft..

Oemleria cerasiformis or Osmaronia cerasiformis

Indian Plum or Oso Berry

By early March this shrub starts leafing out and blooms with pendant white flower clusters.

Philadelphus lewisii


Our native mock-orange has been a prized ornamental in Europe since 1825.

Physocarpus capitatus

Pacific Ninebark

This tallish shrub with an interesting bark favors low elevations in open woods, along creeks or in moist areas.

Small native tree or large shrub growing to 25-35 ft. high and 12-20 ft. wide.

Rhododendron occidentale

Western Azalea

Used extensively in azalea crosses, this is one of our best native summer bloomers.

Ribes aureum

Golden (Yellow) Currant

Attractive deciduous shrub with edible berries that attract birds.

Ribes lacustre

Swamp Currant, Black Gooseberry

Shrub that likes a moist to dryer soil in part sun to part shade.

Ribes sanguineum

Red Flowering Currant

Attractive flowering shrub used a lot ornamentally.

Rosa gymnocarpa

Baldhip Rose

This wild rose has brilliant red hips that are food for birds and small mammals.

Rosa nutkana

Nootka Rose

This native rose does well in both dryish and moist habitats on both sides of the Cascades.

Rosa pisocarpa

Clustered Wild rose, Peafruit Rose, Swamp Rose

A native rose with deep pink flowers followed by hips which provide food for wildlife.

Rosa Rugosa*

Rugosa Rose

Deep pink to white flowers are followed by red hips.

Rubus parviflorus


Shrub grows to 4 ft.. and has edible red fruit which is good wildlife food.

Rubus spectabilis


Reddish purple flowers bloom before foliage appears in early spring and can attract hummingbirds.

Large willow growing to about 18 ft..

A small tree or multi-stemmed shrub.

Rapidly growing large shrub or small tree growing to 30 ft.

Small tree or shrub growing to 24 ft.

Sambucus caerulea

Blue Elderberry

Sambucus racemosa

Red Elderberry

This deciduous shrub is very common west of the Cascades with showy white flowers followed by red clusters of berries popular with wildlife.

A shrub or small native tree growing up to 12 ft.

Sorbus sitchensis

Sitka Mountain Ash

A shrub or small tree growing up to 12 ft.

Spirea densiflora

Subalpine Spirea

This shrub grows to about 70 cm, has attractive flat topped clusters of pink flowers.

Spirea douglasii

Douglas Spirea

This attractive, many-stemmed shrub does best in moist, open sunny areas.

Symphoricarpos albus

Common Snowberry

A low twiggy shrub usually reaching about 2-3 ft..

Symphoricarpos mollis

Creeping Snowberry

Similar to the Common Snowberry but smaller and can spread by above ground stems rooting at the nodes.

Vaccinium membranaceum

Mountain, Black Huckleberry

Understory shrub growing to about 4.5 ft. which gets purplish to red-black edible & tasty berries.

Vaccinium ovalifolium

Oval-leafed Blueberry

Deciduous shrub to 6 ft. tall with Blue-black berries which ripen in July.

Vaccinium parvifolium

Red Huckleberry

This deciduous shrub can vary from 3-12 ft..

Viburnum opulus

High Bush Cranberry

This shrub can grow to 10 ft.

Coniferous or Broadleaf Evergreen Shrubs

Arctostaphylos columbiana

Hairy Manzanita

A hard to find coastal broad leafed evergreen plant.

Ceanothus velutinus


Plants have thick, shiny, evergreen leaves often sticky on top with 3 main veins.

Gaultheria shallon


Plants have thick, evergreen leaves, that are valued in floral arrangements.

A shrubby, evergreen tree found in dry, rocky habitats in the San Juan Islands.

Mahonia (Berberis) aquifolium

Tall Oregon Grape

Highly valued as an evergreen ornamental as well as in naturalized settings.

Mahonia (Berberis) nervosa

Low (Cascade) Oregon Grape

An evergreen shrub, with compound leaves, about 2 feet in height.

Mahonia (Berberis) repens

Creeping (Mahonia) Or. Grape

This evergreen plant is the smallest of our native Oregon grapes.

Mahonia aquifolium Compacta

Compact Oregon Grape

Like the Tall Oregon Grape, but not growing as tall.

Myrica californica

Pacific Wax Myrtle

This plant makes an excellent, attractive screen, growing up to 15 feet high and about as wide.

Potentilla fruiticosa

Shrubby Cinquefoil

Semi-evergreen shrub with yellow flowers.

Prunus laurocerasus Schipkaensis*

Schipka Laurel

Evergreen shrub with dark green leaves.

Rhododendron macrophyllum

Pacific Rhododendron

The state flower of Washington has large leaves and large trusses of flowers.

Vaccinium ovatum

Evergreen Huckleberry

This superb evergreen does as well in cultivation as it does in more naturalized settings.


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Kinnikinnick, Bearberry

A low growing native evergreen ground cover highly valued both as an ornamental and in naturalized settings.

Asarum caudatum

Wild Ginger

Low growing to about 6 in., it has glossy evergreen leaves and purple flowers.

Caltha leptosepala


Low Growing showy Plant with white flowers.

Ceanothus gloriosus*

Pt. Reyes Ceanothus

Low growing evergreen groundcover with blue flowers.

Cornus canadensis

Bunchberry, Creeping Dogwood

This deciduous groundcover, a member of the Dogwood Family, has the distinctive white bracts around its flower.

Fragaria chiloensis

Coastal Strawberry

Low, evergreen groundcover that spreads by runners.

Fragaria vesca

Woods Strawberry or Woodland Strawberry

Similar to Wild Strawberry but the leaves are a brighter green.

Fragaria virginiana

Wild Strawberry

This strawberry’s leaves are bluish-green and not shiny.

Gaultheria procumbens*


An eastern native, nice evergreen groundcover for shade with spicy berries.

Plants have thick, evergreen leaves, that are valued in floral arrangements.

Linnaea borealis


A charming little woodland groundcover.

An evergreen shrub, with compound leaves, about 2 feet in height.

This evergreen plant is the smallest of our native Oregon grapes.

Maianthemum dilatatum

False lily-of-the-valley

This understory plant prefers moist areas.

Oxalis oregana

Oregon Oxalis

A low growing perennial ground cover with clover-like leaves.

Vaccinium caespitosum

Dwarf Blueberry, Dwarf Bilberry

Low-spreading matted deciduous plant to ~12 in. tall.

Vancouveria hexandra

Inside-out Flower

Attractive delicate looking foliage and delicate white flowers.

Vinca minor*

Dwarf Periwinkle

An evergreen groundcover which does best in shade with some summer irrigation.

Viola palustris

Marsh or Blue-runner Violet

Perennial plant with lilac to white flowers.


Adiantum pedatum

Maidenhair Fern

Delicate fern favored by gardeners.

Athyrium filix-femina


This deciduous fern does well in moist woods, along streambanks and in wet meadows.

Blechum spicant

Deer Fern

A delicate looking fern often used in floral arrangements.

Dryopteris expansa

Wood Fern

Deciduous fern which can spread by rhizomatic roots.

Gymnocarpium dryopteris

Oak Fern

A deciduous fern with delicate triangular blades, usually solitary but often in masses.

Polystichum munitum

Western Sword Fern

An evergreen fern which is very abundant in our northwest forests.


Achillea millefolium


A perennial aromatic herb growing to ~4-38 in. tall.

Achlys triphylla

Vanilla Leaf

A perennial herb spreading by underground roots.

Allium cernuum

Nodding Onion

A wild onion preferring moist sunny locations such as wet meadows.

Anaphalis margaritacea

Pearly Everlasting

Leaves are green on top and woolly-white underneath.

Aquilegia formosa

Western Columbine

This red columbine is found in mountain meadows, along streamsides, and in open rocky places throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Armeria maritime

Sea Thrift

A perennial herb commonly found along coastal beaches and sometimes in meadows.

Aruncus dioicus (sylvester)


Perennial growing with White flowers hang down in clusters that resemble a beard of a goat or spaghetti.

Low growing to about 6 in., it has glossy evergreen leaves and purple flowers.

Aster modestus

Great Northern Aster

Violet daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. 1 to 3 feet tall.

Aster subspicatus

Douglas Aster

Perennial growing 8-36 in. tall with blue to purple flowers.

Balsamorhiza deltoidea

Deltoid Balsamroot

This perennial has a sunflower-like inflorescence (about 3-5 in. wide).

Brodiaea congesta

Northern Brodiaea

Perennial herb growing from a corm with pinkish to bluish-purples flowers.

Calochortus tolmiei

Tolmie’s Mariposa Lily

Perennial herb from a bulb.

Perennial with short fleshy stems favoring moist areas and has showy white flowers.

Low Growing showy Plant with white flowers.

Camassia leichtlinii

Great Camas, Leichtlin’s Camas

Perennial herb with grass like leaves to 18 in. high and pale to deep blue flowers.

Campanula rotundifolia

Harebell or Bluebells-of-Scotland

Perennial herb with blue, bell-shaped flowers.

Carex lyngbyei

Lyngby’s Sedge

A native grass that does well in tidal marshes and flats.

Carex obnupta

Slough sedge

A native grass that does well in moister areas. Picture taken by Warren Krupsaw.


Indian Paintbrush

Colorful bright red to scarlet bracts surround inconspicuous flowers.

This deciduous groundcover, a member of the Dogwood Family, has the distinctive white bracts around its flower.

Delphinium nuttalli

Nuttall’s Larkspur

Growing 1-2 ft. Deep blue to purple flowers on stalks.

Deschampsia caespitosa

Tufted Hairgrass

Densely tufted perennial with many stems reaching 8-40 in. tall.

Dicentra formosa

Pacific Bleeding Heart

This native perennial can be found from British Columbia to California, usually west of the Cascades.

Dodecatheon jeffreyi

Jeffrey’s Shooting Star

One of the most beautiful native wildflowers.

Elymus mollis

American Dunegrass

A robust perennial grass, 2-4 feet tall, with thick spreading rhizomes.

Erigeron speciocus

Showy Fleabane

An attractive perennial, 8-24 in. tall, with lavender-blue daisy-like flowers.

Eriophyllum lanatum

Wooly Sunflower, Oregon Sunshine

An perennial subshrub, 4-40 in. tall with yellow, daisy-like flowers.

Festuca idahoensis

Idaho Fescue

Densely tufted perennial with narrow bluish-green leaves.

Low, evergreen groundcover that spreads by runners.

Similar to Wild Strawberry but the leaves are a brighter green.

This strawberry’s leaves are bluish-green and not shiny.

Geum machrophylum

Large Leaf Avens

Heracleum lanatum

Cow Parsnip

A very large perennial, 3-9 feet tall with large white umbrella-like flower clusters, similar to wild carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace.

Heuchera micrantha

Small-flowered Alumroot

Similar to Fringecup and Piggyback plant, this perennial from the saxifrage family has bright green leaves and grows in clumps.

Ipomopsis aggregata

Scarlet Gilia

A biennial or short-lived perennial.

Iris douglasiana

Douglas Iris

Showy clumped perennial with flowers from cream to reddish purple.

Iris setosa

Alaska Iris, Wild Flag

A blue iris with dark veins.

Iris tenax

Oregon Iris

Showy clumped perennial with blue to purple spring flowers.

Juncus ensifolius

Dagger-leafed Rush

Wetland grass with spiked leaves.

Lewisia cotyledon

Siskyou Bitterroot

A rock garden favorite native to the Siskyous of Oregon and California.

Lewisia rediviva


A rock garden favorite native to eastern Washington.

Lilium columbianum

Tiger Lily

Grown from a bulb, this has small flowers that are orange and spotted red.

Lonicera ciliosa

Trumpet Honeysuckle

A climbing vine with clusters of trumpet-shaped orange flowers.

Lonicera hispidula

Hairy Honeysuckle

Like the trumpet honeysuckle but flowers are pinkish.

Lupinus albicaulis

Sickle-keeled Lupine, Pine Lupine

Perennial growing 4-15 in. Leaves with silky hairs.

Lupinus littoralis

Seashore Lupine

A trailing, hairy perennial growing to 24 in. often in mats.

Lupinus polyphyllus

Big Leaf Lupine

Perennial growing 2-5 ft. with blue flowers.

Lupinus rivularis

Streambank Lupine

Perennial growing 18-24 in. with violet or blue flowers.

Lysichiton americanum

Skunk Cabbage

Perennial with large leaves that bear like to eat.

This understory plant prefers moist areas.

Mimulus guttatus

Yellow Monkey-Flower

A perennial growing 4-28 in. tall with bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.

A low growing perennial ground cover with clover-like leaves.

Petasites palmatus

Petasites palmatus, Palmate Coltsfoot

A Rhizomic perennial with large clusters of creamy white to pinkish flowers.

Potentilla gracillis

Graceful Cinquefoil

Perennial herb with runners. Yellow flowers.

Scirpus microcarpus

Small-fruited Bullrush

A grasslike wetland perennial useful for nesting of waterfowl.

Sedum oreganum

Oregon Stonecrop

Attractive succulent herb that spreads from rhizomes.

Sisyrinchium californicum

Yellow Eyed Grass

Like the Idaho Blue-eyed grass, but with yellow flowers.

Sisyrinchium idahoense

Idaho Blue-eyed Grass

Dainty blue to purple flowers in May/June on stems ~16″ tall.

Smilacina racemosa

False Solomons seal

Creamy white flower clusters followed by fleshy fruit.

Tolmiea menziesii

Youth-on-age, Piggy-back plant

Perennial that can spread from rhizomes.

Trillium ovatum

Western Trillium

When this distinctive flower blooms, northwesterners know that spring is here!

Typha latifolia

Common Cattail

Perennial reaching 3-9 ft. tall.

Attractive delicate looking foliage and delicate white flowers.

Perennial plant with lilac to white flowers.

Xerophyllum tenax


A clumped grass up to 3-5 ft. tall that has flowers on spikes.


A climbing vine with clusters of trumpet-shaped orange flowers.

Like the trumpet honeysuckle but flowers are pinkish.


Claytonia sibirica

Siberian Miners Lettus

Succulent annual with white or pinkish flowers.

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