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Madrone (Arbutus), in the Ericaceae family, is an interesting shrub/tree native to northern California. It is found both in the Sierras and in the coast range. It is best known for its extremely beautiful smooth, red bark, which may peel off in intricate patterns. Madrone has waxy, oval leaves and small, white urn-shaped flowers. It is related to Manzanita and bears resemblence to it in these ways, although Madrone generally prefers wetter areas.

Like many other California natives, this plant has lots of opportunities for use in landscaping, but is grossly underutilized. It is a very hardy plant, and prefers acidic soils, which aren't too wet or overfertillized. It may not be hardy to extreme cold or overly wet areas, but does well in almost all of California.

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