Pacific Madrone (Arbutus Menziesii)

The fall season is moving on, with colorful leaves falling and trees taking on a barren look.  Before we forget all that color, let’s consider the Pacific Madrone.  These trees are remarkable for their beautiful, smooth and colorful trunks and have been full of brilliant orange fruit this year in Hendricks Park – an unusually heavy crop. 

Pacific Madrone (Arbutus Menziesii) is closely related to the non-native strawberry arbutus (Arbutus unedo), a common ornamental around town that blooms in fall, at the same that it carries fruit. Pacific Madrone blooms in the spring with large bunches of whitish flowers that are rich in nectar, attracting many pollinators.    

Speaking of colorful leaves, the fallen ones create wonderful patterns on the ground in late fall.  This inspired a neighbor of the park, Julia Siporin, to create a nature mandala featuring a rainbow of leaves found in the park.