Posted by: Kate | July 29, 2011

The Arbutus of Buttle Lake

Anyone who has spent time on Southern Vancouver Island is likely familiar with the arbutus tree. It is a distinctive part of the landscape of the southern island, adding a different element to the usually conifer-dominated forests. The arbutus peters out for the most part just above the mid-island, it is not a tree you see in the forests or on the roadsides up our way.

So it was with a bit of a shock that several years ago I noticed a stand of arbutus along a stretch of cliff alongside Buttle Lake. This is south of the Gold River bridge, on the way to Ralph River and Myra Mine. It gets healthier every year, so obviously, even though this is a mountain valley of about 700 feet elevation (or so I’ve been told) and much further north than its usual range, the arbutus really likes this spot. I don’t see it anywhere else along the roads out here. There is nowhere to pull over and admire them, as the cliffs run right to the road, which is literally along the edge of the lake. So the pictures are from the truck as Mr. Kate navigated the corners.

The trees continue for about 500 metres along the cliff, and then stop. They make me smile every time I see them, just because.



  1. Just because is such a good reason.

  2. amazing trees – i totally understand how they could make you smile!

  3. Ah… a taste of the south!
    Now… where’s your Garry Oaks? :)

    Thanks for the photo!

  4. Hopefully Mr. Kate slowed down as you took the pictures. There is a certain thrill associated with leaning out of a moving vehicle with a camera, trying to get in a good shot. Not that I would ever do that.

  5. I’ve always loved the look of this tree…it doesn’t grow where I typically work but this year we are right in the heart of its range and it is everywhere. I actually paid homage to it this spring by naming on of our black-tailed deer fawns ‘Madrone’. ;)

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: