What the Guests See
The trees are arbutus. They are found in some areas of Europe and in the Pacific Northwest. Their scientific name is arbutus manziesii. In BC they call them arbutus, in Washington most people call them madrones (pronounced ma-DRON-as.) They are pretty much my favorite tree. They grow close to the water although they can be found somewhat farther inland. Very common in the islands. Their bark peels year round and they have leaves year round. I'd love to have some in our yard but we live just outside and above their "comfort zone." Plus they are messy trees--- they drop leaves year round. So they would be great in a natural yard, something of a chore in a landscaped yard. In the spring they develop really nice little flower clusters.
The photos are of a typical "grove" of them. The second photo is Carey (of this forum) taking a picture during one of the times we took our boats to Westsound on Orcas Island.* These trees are typical in size, although they can get much larger in terms of spread and density of their branches.
PS* I should add that I read recently that the arbutus is in trouble in this area.* Air polution has a negative effect on them, and there is (IIRC) a disease that is threatening them.* Something really important for boaters in this area to know is not to use an arbutus to secure a shore tie to.* It's typical to take the stern tie line to shore, run it through a ring (if there is one) or around a tree or rock and then back to the boat.* That way when you leave you can retrieve the line without having to go to shore.* Many of us carry 300 to 500 feet of poly line for this.*
Very important not to put the line around a live tree, particularly an arbutus.* Tension and movement of the line from the boat and then pulling the line in when you leave can cause it to cut into the trunk and expose the tree to disease.* Given the apparently shaky future the arbutus has in this area, the less damage we can do to them, the better.
-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 12th of January 2012 01:03:10 PM