Strawberry Tree

 This evergreen shrub or tree from the Mediterranean area is an interesting addition to the English garden. Known as the Strawberry Tree, for obvious reasons, it is said to be the national tree of Italy due to the red fruit, white flowers, and green leaves representing the colours of the Italian flag.


Arbutus unedo: the Strawberry Tree - November 2022

In Autumn, flowers and ripe fruit co-exist. The flowers are fragrant and bee-friendly ...

Fragrant white flowers of the Strawberry Tree - November 2022

Our Strawberry Tree was moved from its original position in one of the garden beds to the Paradise Garden a few years ago and placed in a rootbag to restrict the final size of the tree.

The Strawberry Tree is in the family Ericaceae so you might expect it to need acidic infertile soil. However, it seems to grow well in most soil types; if you use a rootbag then you can choose your own soil-type regardless of the nature of your garden soil. Maintenance is minimal - like most of our flower beds, a top dressing of homemade compost once a year and the occasional watering during dry weather.

The fruits are edible, though I wouldn't describe them as tasty, and best used in jams and preserves. It is used to make Medronho, a Portuguese fruit brandy. The leaves are widely used in herbal medicine.

For us, it is just an attractive evergreen providing a splash of colour in autumn/winter as well as a useful nectar source in winter/spring.


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