Arbutus

Silhouette - arbutus
  • Latin name: Arbutus menziesii Pursh
  • French name: Arbousier d'Amérique
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 23627
  • NA8 , C8
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf - arbutus

Form

  • Evergreen
  • Alternate, simple
  • Oval, thick, leathery
  • Principal veins branched
  • Pinnately arranged along a thick pale midvein
  • 20–30 veins per side
  • No stipules
  • Lower surface hairless
  • Shed during second growing season

Length

  • 7–12 cm

Colour

  • Upper surface dark glossy green
  • Lower surface paler
  • Older leaves turn reddish

Margin

  • Usually smooth
  • May be finely toothed on young plants and vigorous shoots

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - arbutus

Form

  • Terminal bud present, pointed
  • Many overlapping scales
  • Lower scales ridged
  • Lateral buds much smaller than terminal bud
  • Leaf scars with 1 vein scar

Length

  • Terminal bud 8 mm

Colour

  • Green

Twigs

  • Twig terminal - arbutus

Form

  • Stout, hairless
  • Pith round, thick, uniform

Colour

  • Pale green in spring becoming reddish-brown

Flowers

Form

  • Urn-shaped, with a strong honey odour
  • In drooping, branched terminal clusters (panicles)

Length

  • About 1 cm

Colour

  • White

Structure

  • Synoecious

Floral timing

  • With the new leaves

Fruits

  • Fruit (left); seed (right) - arbutus

Form

  • Berry-like
  • Surface granular
  • Many seeded
  • In clusters
  • Dispersed by birds

Width

  • Less than 1 cm

Colour

  • Orange-red

Structure

  • Capsule

Bark

Form

  • Thin, smooth
  • Peeling in papery flakes and strips
  • Thicker with age, broken into many small flakes

Colour

  • Reddish-brown
  • Newly exposed surfaces yellowish-green soon becoming reddish-brown

Wood

Texture

  • Heavy, hard
  • Warps and checks on drying

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Morphology

  • Diffuse-porous, close-grained

Size

Height

  • To 20 m

Diameter

  • To 60 cm

Maximum age

  • 200 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - arbutus

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Leaning, crooked

Crown

  • Irregular

Habitat

Site

  • Rocky shores, forest edges, and as an understory tree
  • Often invades newly cleared land

Light tolerance

  • Intolerant of shade

Range

Restricted to a narrow belt along the Pacific coast

Photos
  • Arbutus
  • Arbutus
  • Arbutus
  • Arbutus
  • Arbutus
  • Arbutus
Distribution map
Distribution map - arbutus
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