Eagle on arbutus (madrone). Photo by Andrée Fredette

Arbutus (madrone) – Photo Wednesday

Above: Lucky afternoon shot. From his perch on an arbutus high above Fiddler’s Cove, that eagle was keeping an eye on the water.

Arbutus is a fascinating tree because it is constantly changing. Its bark renews itself every year, peeling off old layers to reveal pistachio-green fresh skin.

Arbutus revealing new bark. Photo by Andrée Fredette

If they are near your house, you might call them messy trees because they are constantly dropping something on the ground: bark, limbs, waxy flower buds, fruits not eaten by the birds, and dry leaves. Year round. A broom can be handy, to clear a path among the detritus.

Still, they are just beautiful. Have a look.

Arbutus bark. Photo by Andrée Fredette

How is that for visual rhythm?

Another afternoon shot, focusing on the bark, curling and peeling off.

Arbutus bark curl, close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Right now, they are blooming, attracting lots of bees.

Arbutus bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A close-up of the flower, which is waxy and heavy for its size (tiny).
Arbutus (madrone) bloom close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Arbutus is a tree of coastal British-Columbia, the only native broadleaf evergreen tree in Canada. Its other common name is madrone, a Spanish word for the strawberry tree, of which arbutus is a close relative.

Arbutus on bluff, Saturna Island. Photo by Andrée Fredette

It likes sunny and dry conditions. Like rocky bluffs.

And in the fall, some years, it produces great crops of tiny fruit that are loved by the birds.

Arbutus fruit. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Go hug a tree, it’s good for the soul.