One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An evergreen tree of the heath family with white flowers, red berries, and glossy leaves, native to western North America. Typically, its smooth, thin red bark peels away to reveal a yellowish layer underneath.
Genus "Arbutus", family "Ericaceae": several species, in particular the Pacific madrone ("A. menziesii")
- ‘They were given this elegant new home in the 18th century and now more than 30,000 plants are on display, including the madroño or Strawberry Tree which is now the city's symbol.’
- ‘More leaping tree squirrels, more ruddy madroños and majestic oaks, more fairy circles of redwoods, and, still beside the singing stream, they passed a gate by the roadside.’
Mid 19th century: from Spanish.
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