Rhodies... was Re: fox hunting

Mike Hagen mhagen at olympus.net
Thu Jan 20 12:55:33 EST 2000


The Siskiyou / Klamath Mountains bioregion is one of the richest in the
world. I had the privilege to work there in the late 70s (Six Rivers NF
and private) and still look back in amazement at the number of species
that would turn up on an inventory plot.  According to my old cheat
sheets, Pacific madrone (Arbutus mensiesii) and the wild Pacific rhodys
and azalea, both Rhododendron spp., are all in Ericaceae or the Heath
Family. 

The rhodys were so thick and tenacious, particularly under a partial
canopy of Redwoods, that a new cruiser vest would be torn to shreds in a
season.  Their only saving grace was the lack of thorns. They compare
quite favorably with the vine maple jungles a bit farther northwest.

Doug Bartley wrote:
> 
> 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
> mature
> 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)...
> 
> Regards,
> 
> Doug Bartley
> Hamamatsu, Japan




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