Clinging to life in the arid Chihuahuan Desert, Texas madrone (Arbutus texana or A. xalapensis var. texana, Ericaceae) is a native of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. These trees survive in pockets of relative shade and moisture along canyons and protected slopes where they can extract enough water to attain their respectable size.
Texas madrones are broadleaf evergreens, and even in February these plants appear lush among the harsh desert landscapes. The dark green foliage is contrasted by the reddish bark that makes them stand out among their relatively drab surroundings.
In the spring these trees produce clusters of lantern-shaped, whitish-pink flowers that give way to red berries later in the year. Their intriguing appearance makes them ideal for use as an ornamental throughout the south.