Rhodies... was Re: fox hunting

Doug Bartley further at inh.co.jp
Thu Jan 20 01:03:34 EST 2000

In article <MWvvgDAkEZh4EwB7 at thopkins.demon.co.uk>,
theo hopkins <thopkins at thopkins.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In Oregon there is a shrub called Madrone (or that's how I would spell
>it, I've never seen  the word in print). Is this the same as Rhodie?

No doubt someone knows the specifics better than I do, but no, they
are not the same. Related perhaps. Madrone are evergreen broadleaf
trees on which large areas of the bark are very smooth and a beautiful
reddish (salmon) color. They do well in the drier areas of SW Oregon
and parts of N. California often in conjunction with tan and other oaks
and can be found in rain shadow areas around Puget Sound up to Southern
British Columbia. They can attain a large size and can resprout from the
base if the tops are killed by fire.

There is a native azalea (related to rhododendron) that sometimes
occur with madrone, but Larry is referring to a different plant that
prefers wetter and cooler sites than madrone - I think I may have seen them
together in the So. Oregon but that would be the exception. 

The trees produce bunches of small red fruits in the fall and I believe
the seeds rely on being passed through the gut of birds to germinate. Read
somewhere that the seeds were used by Indians in traditional medicine but
I've no idea what for.

Sorry for the blather, but they grew extensively around my hometown of
Grants Pass, Oregon so I find the subject a bit nostalgic. Also, one of the
most amazing forests I was ever in (long since clearcut, of course) was a
forest composed of mainly of tan oak, madrone, myrtle, canyon live oak in
the Siskiyou mountains of the very southwestern corner of Oregon.
Ironically the above trees were considered to have negligible commercial
value at the time, but it was all logged anyway and a road built with
appropriated funds to get
to some beautiful old-growth Port Orford cedar growing along a creek -
nearly all of which would have had to have been left as a streamside buffer
had there been any such thing in those days (early 1970's)...


Doug Bartley
Hamamatsu, Japan

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