madroño mədrōn´yə [key], tree or shrub (Arbutus menziesii) of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to the Pacific coast of North America and Mexico. It has glossy evergreen leaves, white flowers, and red berries and is cultivated in warm regions for ornament. The bark, which peels off naturally from the trunk to give the tree a naked appearance, has been a source of a brown dye and of tannin, and the hardwood is sometimes used for furniture. A related Mediterranean species, the strawberry tree (A. unedo), also supplies tannin and has edible berries used in preserves, wines, and liqueurs. This genus should not be confused with the plant of the same family whose common name is trailing arbutus. Madroño is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ericales, family Ericaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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