|B.C.'s largest circumference (7.8 meters) Arbutus, Dockyards CFB, Esquimalt|
Arbutus are found as far south as Mexico, giving this tree one of the longest north-south ranges of any North American tree. It is Canada's only native broad-leafed evergreen tree, and usually resides not farther than 8 km from the pounding waves of the Pacific ocean.
|Arbutus in Roche Cove Regional Park, Sooke|
|Huge canopy of Arbutus in Roche Cove Regional Park, Sooke|
|Largest (398 AFA points) known, and tallest (35.54 m), Arbutus in B.C., Thetis Island|
Arbutus are not known for sustaining damage in wind storms. This is partly because their wood is dense and strong. Heavy wet snow, on the other hand, can break their branches.
|Arbutus flowers and leaves, Shaun Hubbard photo|
|Arbutus bark has a variety of appearances depending on its age|
These are tough trees that weather summer drought conditions well, and prefer very dry to moderately dry soils.
If they are damaged by fire they are able to sprout fresh growth from the trunk, giving them an advantage over fire damaged conifers. Fire is not much of a threat these days, though, but forms of fungus are. Many of B.C.'s Arbutus are suffering from different forms of fungus, including root rot, which is damaging and killing a number of trees. Scientists believe this is due to stresses put on Arbutus by unusually dry winters. Habitat loss is also a threat.
On south Vancouver Island just about any coastal area will feature notable Arbutus. Regional parks are good places to see these amazing trees. Witty's Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin features some very large Arbutus. Beach Trail, which starts next to the Nature Center, takes the hiker past one of the largest and oldest Arbutus in the area.
|Giant Arbutus at Witty's Lagoon Regional Park|
Enjoy the many opportunities Vancouver Island has for viewing Canada's only native broad-leafed evergreen tree. Some of the best Arbutus habitat (and individual specimens) in B.C. can be found here.