(Strawberry Tree) Arbutus unedo is a gorgeous evergreen shrub or eventually small tree with white or pale pink pitcher-like flowers in autumn followed by bright red, edible, strawberry-like fruit.
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Gorgeous evergreen shrub or eventually small tree with white or pale pink pitcher-like flowers in autumn followed by bright red, edible, strawberry-like fruit. These fruit can take up to a year to ripen and the previous years fruit can often be seen at on an Arbutus unedo at the same time as the current years flower. The flowers are very popular with insects and in particular, butterflies.
When established Arbutus unedo will develop a fantastic, peeling, mahogany coloured bark. Best planted in a warm position sheltered from cold winter winds.
- Position: Full sun or light, dappled shade.
- Soil: Any well drained, fertile soil. Arbutus unedo is reasonably tolerant of chalky soils but will grow better in slightly acidic conditions.
- Hardiness: Reasonably hardy. Arbutus unedo is wind tolerant in coastal areas but prefers some shelter in cold gardens.
- Flowering Period: September - November.
- Flower Colour: White to Pinkish-red
- Rate of Growth: Slow to moderate.
- Habit: Large shrub or very small branching tree with a rounded crown.
- Height: 5 m (16 ft)
- Spread: 5 m (16 ft)
- Notes: Arbutus unedo is reasonably tolerant of atmospheric pollution and a good choice for urban gardens.
A native of South Western Ireland and the Mediterranean, in mild coastal areas this choice species is completely wind proof, but in colder inland gardens such as here, it benefits from a little shelter. Young plants will benefit from the protection of fleece or even Christmas tree branches arranged as an igloo over the Arbutus for the first couple of winters.
The fruit produced from a specimen in our own gardens are edible but with a bland flavour this far north in Derbyshire. In Mediterranean areas the fruits are one of the main ingredient of an alcoholic liqueur.
A member of the Rhododendron family, the genus Arbutus is remarkable amongst ericaceous plants for being tolerant of lime or chalky soils.
Extract from an information poster in our arboretum
- How Much Sun
- Partial or Dappled Shade, Full Sun
- Mature Size
- Shrub - Large (over 10 ft tall), Tree - Small (under 20 ft tall)
- Growing Conditions
- Soil Type: Acid, Soil Type: Chalky / Alkaline, Soil Type: Dry / Sandy
- Special Features
- Fruit - Ornamental, Ornamental Bark / Colourful Winter Stems, Good for Wildlife (Insects including bees & butterflies), To grow in a pot, Evergreen, Flowering Season - Summer (June - August)