Arbutus unedo is a very beautiful small evergreen tree from the Mediterranean, but strangely also native to the south west of Ireland. The branches are normally gnarled and twisted which give the tree a very attractive branch structure to reveal when crown lifting. They tolerate lime in the soil and in some places thrive on pure limestone. The leaves are tough and glossy and elliptical in shape with serrated edges. The small bell shaped flowers are translucent creamy-white often with a warm pink tinge and appear during late summer. These are followed by small red fruit which remind people of strawberries hence the name Strawberry Tree. Technically the orange pulpy flesh of the fruit is edible, but as the name unedo suggests (I eat one’) that one is quite enough!
Fruit: Red round slightly spiky fruit which resemble a strawberry.
Bark: Grey and fissured with bright red new growth.
Leaves: Evergreen, dark green and glossy. Broad with serrated edges.
Autumn colour: N/A
Ultimate height: 5-10m
Uses: Small evergreen tree with pretty flowers and attractive fruit – loved by bees and birds.