photo by Lotus Johnson CC BY-NC


Arbutus have thin, smooth, reddish-brown bark that peels to reveal younger bark underneath. The crooked or leaning trunks split into numerous twisted branches with oval, leathery leaves that stay on the tree all year round. Leaves from the previous year turn reddish-orange and start to fall once the new leaves are fully grown. The trees can grow to a height of 100 ft.

Found along the west coast from British Columbia's Lower Mainland to Mexico, Arbutus grow best in dry regions with rocky or rapidly drained soils.

Clusters of small, bell-shaped white flowers droop from the end of stems in April/May. They smell strongly of honey, making them very attractive to bees. The berries are rough-skinned and reddish-orange and an important food for various birds and small mammals.

Did you know? Arbutus usually only grow within 5 miles of the ocean and are often found on exposed rocky bluffs.