Arbutus unedo ~ Strawberry Tree
Arbutus unedo is a tree in the manzanita family. The dark grey trunks of the Strawberry tree are twisted and curved. I love their sculptural aspect. The mildly fragrant creamy white flowers of Arbutus unedo are produced in the Winter and into the Spring. The bumpy red fruit vaguely resembles strawberries. The Strawberry Tree fruit is edible and reasonably tasty but it has an unusual texture. I rarely eat more than a few. I have read of the use of the fruit of Arbutus unedo in beer or mead or as a fruit compote, but still have not made any, an experiment awaits. Arbutus unedo regardless of its edibility is a good tree for the garden. The Strawberry Tree will tolerate a low water garden, but prefers at least a nominal amount of irrigation. Arbutus unedo will grow to 25 feet or more tall and wide. There is a dwarf variety around that can easily be kept to 6-8 feet tall and can be used as a hedge. The dark green foliage is quite suitable for this purpose. Arbutus 'Marina' is a cross between this species and Arbutus menziesii, Modrono. It sports orange red trunks and similar leaves and flowers. Arbutus unedo is a nectar source for the California Dogface Butterfly and Monarch Butterfly and is a great addition to the Butterfly Garden. The fallen fruit from the Strawberry Tree can be a nuisance if the birds find an interest and walkways or parked cars are nearby.
High resolution photos of Arbutus unedo are part of our garden image collection