Arbutus densiflora Benth.
Arbutus densiflora Kunth
Arbutus donnell-smithii Small
Arbutus floribunda M.Martens & Galeotti
Arbutus glandulosa M.Martens & Galeotti
Arbutus laurifolia Lindl.
Arbutus laurina M.Martens & Galeotti
Arbutus macrophylla M.Martens & Galeotti
Arbutus mollis Kunth
Arbutus paniculata M.Martens & Galeotti
Arbutus peninsularis Rose & Goldman
Arbutus petiolaris Kunth
Arbutus prunifolia Klotzsch
Arbutus rubescens Bertol.
Arbutus texana Buckley
Arbutus varians Benth.
Arbutus villosa Willd. ex Klotzsch
Arctostaphylos rubescens (Bertol.) Hemsl.
Comarostaphylis glauca Buckley
Comarostaphylis rubescens (Bertol.) Klotzsch
Common Name: Madrono
Fruiting branches on a tree growing in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, West Texas, USA
Photograph by: Fredlyfish4
Arbutus xalapensis is an evergreen shrub or small tree, usually growing 2 - 4 metres tall, exceptionally to 8 metres[
]. Trees up to 12 metres tall have been recorded with a bole diameter of up to 90cm and a spreading crown up to 13 metres across[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood. It is grown as an ornamental.
Most regions where this species grows have experienced large-scale deforestation - however parts of its range are contained within protected areas. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Southern N. America - New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and south to Nicaragua.
Drier oak forests from Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon southwards. Usually found on limestone soils at elevations up to 3,000 metres[
]. Rough, stony hills, mountain slopes, calcareous ledges; at elevations of 300 - 2,200 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Arbutus xalapensis is a plant of moderate to high elevations in the warm temperate to tropical zones of southern N. America and Central America. It is found in regions where the meann annual precipitation ranges from 400 - 750mm. The plant can experience moderate frosts within its native range, and is known to tolerate occasional, short-lived temperatures down to around -10°c[
Requires a lime-free nutrient-rich well-drained moisture-retentive soil in sun or semi-shade and shelter from cold drying winds, especially when young[
]. This species thrives in the wild on limestone soils with a pH in the range 7.5 - 7.8, and in dry conditions[
The plant is very difficult to transplant[
Plants are slow-growing[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. A sweetish taste[
], the fruit has a dry mealy flesh[
]. It has narcotic properties[
]. The deep red to blackish red, globose fruits can be 5 - 10mm in diameter[
The bitter principles in the bark and leaves can be used as an astringent[
The heartwood is reddish-brown; the sapwood is lighter in colour. The wood is heavy, very hard, close grained. It requires very careful seasoning to overcome its natural tendency to check. A good quality wood, valued by cabinet makers, it is used for small tools, mathematical instruments, rollers etc[
The wood makes a good fuel and also produces a fine grade of charcoal[
Seed - best surface sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be soaked for 5 - 6 days in warm water and then surface sown in a shady position in a greenhouse[
]. Do not allow the compost to become dry. 6 weeks cold stratification helps[
]. The seed of many species in this genus usually germinates well in 2 - 3 months at 20°c - this species, however, has proved to be very difficult to germinate successfully. Researchers recommend selecting seeds carefully, using sterilized soil and distilled or deionized water, supplementing natural sunlight with artificial light to extend daylength, and carefully controlling fungus. Seedlings should never be exposed to direct sunlight until well conditioned[
]. Seedlings are prone to damp off[
], they are best transplanted to individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and should be kept well ventilated. Grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[
Basal cuttings in late winter[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, late autumn in a frame. Poor percentage[
Layering of young wood - can take 2 years[