Out in the towering, rigid mountains of Texas grow magnificent, distinct trees that are stretching their limbs and shedding their bark. These trees are not wounded like others that may lose their bark from injury or disease; instead, they’re about to reveal new, colorful apricot shades or brassy skin tones underneath the surface. As these unique Texas madrone trees extend tall and wide, they leave their old bark behind to continue a one-of-a-kind growth process.
The Texas madrone has quite an impressive story to tell; many believe it’s thousands of years old. Scientists are astonished with this tree species because of its ability to hold its own in an ever-changing environment. Some describe the Texas madrone as relict, meaning that even as the surrounding environment transforms over time, this national champion tree continues to stay the same. The trees’ native home has become drier and warmer than what it once used to but with its relict nature, the madrone has never migrated from its original habitat like other trees such as the longleaf pine or yellow birch.
Big tree admirers can find the national champion Texas madrone in the Chisos Mountains of Brewster County, Texas. The national champion is recorded at 27 feet tall with a 93-inch trunk circumference. Although most trees appear on the National Register of Big Trees list due to their massive size, the Texas madrone earns such recognition for different reasons.