Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)
Category: Evergreen Trees
Strawberry Tree is an evergreen flowering shrub or undersized tree that belongs to the Ericaceae family. This tree hails from the Mediterranean region and is also called Killarney strawberry tree. Since the tree is largely found in northwest and southwest of Ireland, it is also called Irish strawberry tree. Strawberry Tree is cultivated as decorative plant by plant nurseries. It is used as a sole-trunked or multi-trunked ornamental tree, and as a sample shrub in public landscapes and gardens. When developed as a tree rather than a plant, basal buds are kept pruned off. The tree has a slow growth rate and grows well in full sun as well as in partial shade. It grows well in well-drained soils, and low to reasonable soil dampness. At the adulthood, the Strawberry Tree attains the rounded shape with its widespread branches.
Strawberry Tree is a charming out-of-season tree that grows to a maximum height ranging from 15 feet to 30 feet with elongated branches that spread equally to its height. The trunk of the tree has a maximum diameter of 32 inches.
The leaves of the Strawberry Tree are oval in shape and dark green in color. These leaves are shiny, with the length ranging from 2 inches to 4 inches and a breadth between 0.8 inches and 1.2 inches, with a serrated border.
The Strawberry Tree produces flowers from October to December. These flowers are hermaphrodite and they appear with white color, rarely they appear in pale pink, and they are pollinated by bees. The length of these bell-shaped flowers ranges in diameter from 4 mm to 6 mm, produced panicles of 10 to 30 flowers collectively in autumn.
The fruits of the Strawberry Tree are smaller in size with a diameter between 1 cm and 2 cm. The fruits are red in color, with a coarse surface, ripening 12 months concurrently with the next flowering.
Strawberry Tree serves as a bee shrub for honey manufacture, and its fruits are the favorite food for all varieties of birds. The fruits of the tree are also used to make beverages, jams, and liqueurs. The Honey produced from this tree has a bitter taste. The tree is used in folk medicine for antiseptic, intoxicant, astringent, tonic and rheumatism purposes.