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Trees of Golden Gate Park 71: Madrone

Articles: Trees of Golden Gate Park 71: Madrone

In researching and updating material for the book, Trees of Golden Gate Park, we stumbled upon several mature trees not included in the original series of articles on the park’s trees. Here, Dr McClintock returns with another tree of note, found both in Strybing Arboretum and in the National AIDS Memorial Grove.
One of the most distinctive trees in forests from Southern California north into British Columbia is the largest tree of the heath, or rhododendron, family (Ericaceae). Notable for colorful, exfoliating bark, clusters of white flowers in spring, and brightly colored fruits in fall, madrone (Arbutus menziesii) is an evergreen tree reaching one hundred feet in the wild, though usually less in cultivation. Also known by its Spanish name, madroña, it may be found in close association with coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), tanbark oak (Lithocarpus densiflorus), and big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum). Like the Douglas fir, its specific epithet recognizes one of the West’s earliest botanical explorers, Scotland’s Archibald Menzies.



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