Tuesday, December 21, 2010



Pacific madrone
Arbutus menziesii
Ericaceae

This looks Christmas-y, right? I was amazed at how prolific the Pacific madrones were up on the mountain. Red, orange, and yellow berries were everywhere, in the trees and on the ground. I ate one just to try it out. Not too bad... it had the taste and texture of a not very sweet, ripe strawberry, but with a whole lot of seeds on the inside. I'm not going to become a madrone eating freak anytime soon, but it's good to know in case I ever need to "survive" out in the wild. Oh! There's an unidentified mushroom in the last pic, but I'll get to my numerous 'shroom pics after the holiday.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas day, whether you celebrate it or not.

ps 12/24/10 - I'm not the only one who has tried the berries. See Rooted in California's foraging post. It seems many regionally local nature bloggers have noticed the profusion of madrone berries this year.

6 comments:

texwisgirl said...

That first shot is really beautiful - could be a California style Christmas card.

You're a brave soul to try eating a berry. :)

Merry Christmas to you too!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Thanks, twg. Wishing you a merry Christmas!

Janet said...

The manzanita and madrone berries, which also cover hillsides in this area, are so important in helping our resident birds make it thru winter too!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Thanks for the bird reminder, Janet. I wonder since this seems to be such a big madrone berry year, if the birds will be extra fat come spring.

ryan said...

I've noticed all the berries too. Really beautiful this year. They are one of the most beautiful trees anywhere in my opinion. I'm starting to feel like I should try the berries. A not very sweet strawberry with a lot of seeds doesn't sound bad for a forage on a winter hike.

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Ryan, what's going on with your blog?