Snow in May?

Snow in May?

Snow in May?

At first glance, it looks like we got a light dusting of snow here on Whidbey Island in May. Unlike my disgruntled friends and family members in Minnesota who DID get snow on May 2, this white substance by the side of the road is white flowers from our beautiful madrone trees.

madrone flowers on the road

madrone flowers on the road

The madrone tree, Arbutus menziesii, is found all along the west coast of North America. In spring it creates these white flowers and in the fall it bears red berries that are much loved by local birds.
It is an evergreen tree with rich, orange-red bark that peels in thin sheets, not unlike birch trees. It is very dense and therefore good for firewood. I love the curved, sensuous beauty of its twisting trunks. One of its challenges is that the heavily populated west coast no longer allows fires, which it readily survives and thrives on.

1 comment
  1. Beautiful. The verges on the roads look very pretty.
    We have a number of trees and plants in Australia that thrive, and even depend, on fire for their survival; plants where the seedpods don’t open unless subjected to extreme temperatures. It is one of the difficulties we face in balancing hte need for human habitation with the need for nature and diverity to do its thing. In Victoria, we are in the post-bushfire season period of “controlled burning-off” to assist this process and clear the dead scrub. Always a nerve-racking time for government personnel in charge of this process.

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