Monday, February 11, 2013

Arbutus Trees

One of the things that most intriqued me when I first started coming over to the islands to visit were these arbutus trees (called madrone or madrona in the US).  They grow in mediteranean climates and must be near the ocean.  They have red bark that looks like it's peeling all the time, it loses its leaves in summer oddly enough and has white flowers and red berries.  It remains green all winter.

Whenever we go for a hike around the island, as we get close to the ocean, there are many of them especially in the cliffy hilly areas.  All twisty and colourful, they  make great backdrops for pictures.  It's really hard to believe that they only grow here on some parts of the west coast.  When we went to Orca's Island in the San Juan Islands a few years ago there was one road in particular that had arbutus trees lining the side of the road for a mile or so. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. 

It's amazing how different the vegetation is here on the islands, it really is what they call a mediteranean climate.  So different from the weather to the east.  They can grow entirely different things here.  The first time I saw a monkey tree in Vancouver I couldn't believe it!

Some of them were absolutely huge, they look like cactuses or jungle trees.  And I've actually seen palm trees here too.  At the ferry terminal on this island there is a palm tree about 6 ft high.
This summer I'm going to make a point of taking pictures of all the plants and trees that are new to me and maybe share them here.  So wonderful.


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