Arbutus unedo

Strawberry Tree

(2 customer reviews)

From £18.71

The Strawberry Tree is an evergreen tree which provides year-round interest with characterful reddish bark, leathery glossy green foliage, pretty white bell flowers which bloom in October until January, followed by decorative fruits in autumn which start green and turn red slowly over a long period of time.

Arbutus unedo is ideal for a bright, moist and well-drained position, sheltered from strong drying winds or harsh frosts.

Origin: Mediterranean Europe and Southwest Ireland
Genus: Arbutus
Species / Cultivar: unedo
Common Name: Strawberry Tree
Synonym: Unedo edulis

Plant Biography

Native to the Mediterranean and Western Ireland, Arbutus unedo is one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in his landmark 1753 work Species Plantarum.

The fruits of Arbutus unedo are large and pendulous, looking somewhat like lychee but bright red in colour. These are edible, though they don’t have a flavour akin to strawberries and are quite bland, though they can be used to make marmalade. In Portugal a traditional fruit brandy ‘Medronho’ is made from them.

The name unedo was given by Pliny the Elder from the Latin ‘unum edo’, meaning ‘eat once’ – because, whilst the fruit is edible, they are so insipid that he would only eat one of them.

Arbutus unedo
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: Low
Will grow in a drier position and is unlikely to need regular watering once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 10m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 9m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

Avoid pruning the Strawberry Tree in autumn to avoid removing the ripening berries which provide magnificent winter colour interest.

Simultaneous Fruits and Flowers

The fruits of the Strawberry Tree takes almost a year to ripen, so in autumn as new flowers begin to bloom, the fruit from the previous year ripen to strawberry red. This creates an unusual situation where the plant has both attractive flowers and ripe fruit at the same time.

The flowers of this tree are also incredibly valuable, providing a brilliant food source for bumblebees, which love the large quantities of nectar in the flowers.

Because of these fruits and flowers, Arbutus unedo has a full four season interest, making it perfect either as a specimen plant or an always interesting hedging plant.

Care & Size Guidance

Arbutus unedo does not like to have its roots disturbed, so it is best to plant them into their final position as soon as possible. Its growth rate is slow when young, but increases slightly with age.

The soil in our small garden is terrible, very dry and heavy however this tree has thrived and gives us beautiful green leaves all year round, lovely bright orange strawberries near the end of the year and beautiful white flowers too.

Ham Resident

The soil in our small garden is terrible, very dry and heavy however this tree has thrived and gives us beautiful green leaves all year round, lovely bright orange strawberries near the end of the year and beautiful white flowers too.

2 customer reviews for Arbutus unedo

I received a well packed and beautiful plant. Great quality. I will definitely buy from the Palm Centre again.

Delia H.

The soil in our small garden is terrible, very dry and heavy however this tree has thrived and gives us beautiful green leaves all year round, lovely bright orange strawberries near the end of the year and beautiful white flowers too. Id never heard of it before but one of the staff at the Palm centre recommended it. We love it.

Ham Resident