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Mystery Flora: Red Bark, Red Heifer

This isn’t a flower, but it’s still flora. Lockwood would like us to figure out what this sort of bushy tree thingie is. And I told him you guys would be completely capable.

Mystery Flora I

We found this particular specimen up at the quartz vein stop, which is just off the road to Red Heifer Pass. We’d been keeping an eye out for an example all day. Lockwood had described it as being a sort of shrubby thing with smooth red bark. They’re all over the place.

Mystery Flora II

So of course, since he’d said that, we didn’t see a single one all damned day. Then he backed in to one up on the quartz vein road, and I said, “Is that it?”

Mystery Flora III

And he looked at the shrubby sort of tree thingie with smooth red bark and said, “Yep! That’s it!”

Mystery Flora IV

This stuff grows all over the Western Cascades, and probably elsewhere, although I haven’t paid much attention to it. I’m usually trying to look through it to see either a) geology or b) birds.

Lockwood’s given us a lot of geology goodness. I’m hoping we can return the favor by identifying this little red-barked delight for him.

Mystery Flora V

Comments

  1. says

    Manzanita and madrone have smooth, red bark like that. I think of manzanita as being more of a chapparal species, and madrone as being exclusively coastal, but what do I know? Maybe they occur there, too?

  2. Lithified Detritus says

    I agree with Eric – it looks like hairy manzanita. Most of the manzanita I’ve seen in my visits to the west have glossy leaves. They can be quite spectacular – dark glossy foliage contrasting with red bark and and gray weathered deadwood. I’d love to have one in a bonsai pot.

  3. says

    Having never noticed hairy manzanita before (although surely I’ve seen it in NW northern CA), I have to agree, because of the leaf shape and red bark. A few more pictures here.

  4. Trebuchet says

    Not being familiar with manzanita, I just took it to be a young madrone/madrona, arbutus meziesii. Now I’ll have to be on the lookout for manzanita.

  5. says

    I think madrone is primarily coast range. The other that’s similar is myrtlewood, but I think of that as being dominantly Klamath/Siskyou provenance. Some friends asked me about a similar, smaller (shrubby) variety in the western Cascades. I knew immediately what they were talking about, but didn’t know the name. “Manzanita” is familiar to me, and I may have once known to connect it to this plant, but it’s one of countless things I’ve forgotten over the years, apparently. Thanks for your help!

  6. Trebuchet says

    I think madrone is primarily coast range.

    There’s tons of madrone around the Puget Sound area and over on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula, where I hang out a good deal.