tree-hugging among the pacific madrone

Just this morning, while musing over what I should write for this month’s edition of Festival of the Trees, it occurred to me that favourite trees are something that good friends like to share. On my first trip to California, a friend in Berkeley took me to Muir Woods to meet the Redwoods. We also visited the tall Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), in the Eucalyptus Grove at UC, Berkeley.

On my second trip to the west, another friend took me to meet the Redwoods of the Smith River area. On the same journey, we spent time among the Manzanita, California Bay Laurel, and Coast Live Oak. However, the tree that made the greatest impression was the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii). I met quite a number on that trip, but one in particular stands out from the rest.

It was a wonderful tree. To these Northeastern eyes, the smooth “skin” and sculptural trunk seemed so like a human torso — and so unlike any tree I’d yet encountered. The leaves were leathery, and there were clusters of red, berry-like fruit high among the twisting branches and leathery evergreen leaves. It was a “touch-able” tree… the kind of tree you want to place your hand upon… the kind of tree that invites you to wrap your arms around its trunk.

Since that trip, I’ve gone on to meet other trees in other places, and yet, it’s this tree I remember best. I hope to get back out that way someday soon — and who knows — perhaps I’ll get a chance to spend some time tree-hugging among the Pacific Madrone once more.

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2 Responses to “tree-hugging among the pacific madrone”

  1. Dave Says:

    They look a little like beeches, only kinkier. I think Robin Andrea of dharma bums blog has written about them too. Definitely high on my list of things to see if I ever get out to the west coast again.

  2. burning silo Says:

    They’re sort of like beeches, but different again… much smoother texture. Must look up RA’s post about the madrones. And yes, do check out the madrone trees if you’re out to the west coast sometime.