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The Madrone tree, arbutus, a special tree in the Texas Hill Country, rare and endangered. Visiting the Texas Hill Country gives you the opportunity to see Texas madrone trees. A Madrone is a delicate-looking, smooth-skinned tree. Every year the Madrone's skin is flaking away, because it cannot grow with the tree. In the beginning un-tanned, light yellow - later revealing a rusty red color. In spring its early bell shaped blossom brighten your day with their look and their sweet scent. In fall its red berries seemed to glow like embers. Arbutus xalapensis, an unusual tree species found in Texas only in the mountains of West Texas and on the rocky, limestone slopes in pockets of the Texas Hill Country. The Texas madrone was once designated as a separate species, Arbutus texana, or as a variety of A. xalapensis. But it is one of more than a half-dozen species of madrones found primarily in California, New Mexico, the Mediterranean, Mexico and Guatemala. The Texas version is considered the same species as the Mexican species, which derives its name from the Latin word arbutus, or strawberry tree, and xalapensis, which refers to the Mexican town of Xalapa (Jalapa), capital of the State of Veracruz. The Texas Madrone is a rare but remarkable Texas native. The Texas Madrone has been around for thousands of years and is considered by some scientists to be a relict, or a species from an earlier time that manages to survive even after the surrounding environment has undergone significant change. Bonenberger nature preserve in the Texas Hill Country. Photos taken by Marianne Bonenberger, edited Peter Bonenberger
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Arbutus the famous Texas Madrone tree

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