The Pacific madrone

The Pacific madrone

I have a memory of acid-green tree bark.

Two years ago, while a passenger in a car traveling to Coupeville, Washington, I remember seeing this most unusual color on the trees lining Madrona Way.  So on my recent trip to Whidbey Island, I was determined to find them again so that I could photograph the amazing bark.

I did find the trees, the Pacific madrone or madrona, along the winding Madrona Way, but the trunks exhibited a burnt sienna color — no acid green.  Could I have mis-remembered?  Looking for more information, I came across this Seattle Times article which describes some of the more amazing attributes of this native tree:  it’s a “broadleaf evergreen tree” (we think of evergreen trees as having needles) with “bonsai’d branches.”  It’s a “cliff hugging” tree, so the winding road along Puget Sound was its natural habitat.  And then the article mentioned “pistachio” colored bark.  So it seems I might have I remembered correctly after all.

The Times article also introduced me to the local artist David Harrison, who frequently features the madrona tree in work.  You can see some of this paintings here.

And here are my photos:

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Peeling Bark

November 21, 2010

Birch bark stretched around its trunk

Peeling red bark

“The world strips and gets naked, the full year of arboreal effort piling on the sidewalks in flat, damp strata.”
     — Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna