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Useful Temperate Plants

Arbutus unedo

L.

Ericaceae

+ Synonyms

Arbutus cassinifolia Steud.

Arbutus crispa Hoffmanns.

Arbutus croomii auct.

Arbutus integrifolia Sims

Arbutus intermedia Heldr. ex Nyman

Arbutus laurifolia L.f.

Arbutus microphylla auct.

Arbutus nothocomaros Heldr. ex Nyman

Arbutus pavarii Pamp.

Arbutus procumbens Kluk ex Besser

Arbutus salicifolia (Lodd.) Cels ex Hoffmanns.

Arbutus serratifolia Salisb.

Arbutus turbinata Pers. ex Rchb.

Arbutus vulgaris Bubani

Common Name: Strawberry Tree

Arbutus unedo
Ripening fruits and flowers
Photograph by: Jozicav
Creative Commons License
Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo

General Information

Arbutus unedo is an evergreen shrub or a tree that usually grows 3 - 9 metres tall, exceptionally to 12 metres in the wild[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials - the fruit is sometimes sold in local markets, especially in N. Africa. It is much grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its attractive form and for its display of both flowers and fruits at the same time of the year.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Southwest Europe (southern Ireland), Mediterranean.

Habitat

Woodland, scrub and rocky hillsides, often on limestone and sandstone[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
45
Title
Flowers of Greece and the Balkans.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1980
ISBN
0-19-217626-9
Description
A good pocket flora, it also lists quite a few plant uses.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height9.00 m
Growth RateMedium
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Arbutus unedo is mainly a plant of the Mediterranean, but also with a thriving popultion in southern Ireland. Plants thrive in regions with mild, wet winters, though they have also withstood temperatures down to -16°c without injury at Kew Gardens in England[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Requires a nutrient-rich well-drained moisture-retentive soil in sun or semi-shade and shelter from cold drying winds, especially when young[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in dry soils. Most species in this genus require a lime-free soil but this species is fairly lime tolerant[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Succeeds in fairly exposed maritime positions[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. A tree in a very exposed position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall was looking rather tattered in April 1987 but it was 4.5 metres tall and carrying a very good crop of immature fruit[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Tolerates industrial pollution[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants resent root disturbance and are best placed in their final positions whilst young[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. Give them some protection in their first winter.
The strawberry tree flowers in late autumn and early winter - the fruit takes 12 months to ripen and so the tree carries both mature fruit and flowers at the same time and is incredibly beautiful at this time[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The flowers have a soft honey scent[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].
There are a number of named varieties[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
] developed for their ornamental value. 'Elfin King', 'Croomei' and 'Rubra' are all small forms that fruit well when small[
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
]. The variety 'Rubra' was 1.2 metres tall at Kew in late 1990 and was laden down with fruits and flowers[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. 'Elfin King' only reaches a height of 1 metre, comes into bearing when young and fruits well[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. It is ideal for container culture[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. 'Croomei' is said to be a more reliable fruiting form[
49
Title
Shrubs for the Milder Counties.
Publication
 
Author
Arnold-Forster.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Trees and shrubs that grow well in Cornwall and other mild areas of Britain. Fairly good, a standard reference book.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet but insipid[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
3
Title
Growing Unusual Fruit.
Publication
 
Author
Simmons. A. E.
Publisher
David & Charles; Newton Abbot.
Year
1972
ISBN
0-7153-5531-7
Description
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
,
5
Title
Food for Free.
Publication
 
Author
Mabey. R.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1974
ISBN
0-00-219060-5
Description
Edible wild plants found in Britain. Fairly comprehensive, very few pictures and rather optimistic on the desirability of some of the plants.
]. The Latin name 'unedo' means 'I eat one (only)' and suggests that the fruit is not very palatable[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
], though another report says that the fruit is so delicious that a person only needs to eat one[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
]. It does have a somewhat gritty skin, but the fruit itself has the texture of a lush tropical fruit and has a delicate pleasant flavour. For those people with sensitive taste buds, this is a fruit that can be enjoyed when eaten in moderate quantities[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The fruit contains about 20% sugars and can be used to make delicious and nourishing jams and preserves[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
]. It is ripe in November/December and is about 15mm in diameter. When fully ripe it falls from the tree and so it is advisable to grow the plant in short grass in order to cushion the fall of the fruit[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The strawberry tree is little used in herbalism, though it does deserve modern investigation[
268
Title
The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. M. (Editor)
Publisher
Orbis Publishing. London.
Year
1979
ISBN
0-85613-067-2
Description
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
]. All parts of the plant contain ethyl gallate, a substance that possesses strong antibiotic activity against the Mycobacterium bacteria[
268
Title
The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. M. (Editor)
Publisher
Orbis Publishing. London.
Year
1979
ISBN
0-85613-067-2
Description
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
].

The leaves, bark and root are astringent and diuretic[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
268
Title
The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. M. (Editor)
Publisher
Orbis Publishing. London.
Year
1979
ISBN
0-85613-067-2
Description
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
]. They are also a renal antiseptic[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
] and so are of use in the treatment of affections of the urinary system such as cystitis and urethritis[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. The leaves are also used in the treatment of kidney diseases, cardiovascular and digestive diseases amd hypertension[
1279
Title
Antileishmanial potential of medicinal plant extracts from the North-West of Morocco
Publication
 
Author
Abdelhakim Bouyahya; Abdeslam Et-Touys; Nadia Dakka; Hajiba
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjbas.2017.06.003
Publisher
 
Year
2017
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The plant's astringent action makes it of use in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery [
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. Like many other astringent plants, a gargle can be made for treating sore and irritated throats[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].
The leaves are gathered in the summer and dried for later use[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
].

The flowers are weakly diaphoretic[
268
Title
The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. M. (Editor)
Publisher
Orbis Publishing. London.
Year
1979
ISBN
0-85613-067-2
Description
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
].


N-hexane extracts of the plant have shown remarkable antileishmanial activities[
1279
Title
Antileishmanial potential of medicinal plant extracts from the North-West of Morocco
Publication
 
Author
Abdelhakim Bouyahya; Abdeslam Et-Touys; Nadia Dakka; Hajiba
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjbas.2017.06.003
Publisher
 
Year
2017
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The leaves have shown antioxidant and antibacterial properties[
1279
Title
Antileishmanial potential of medicinal plant extracts from the North-West of Morocco
Publication
 
Author
Abdelhakim Bouyahya; Abdeslam Et-Touys; Nadia Dakka; Hajiba
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjbas.2017.06.003
Publisher
 
Year
2017
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Other Uses

Tannin is obtained from the leaves, bark and fruit[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. The bark contains 45% tannin[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

The wood is used for turning, making Greek flutes etc[
89
Title
Flowers of the Mediterranean.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Huxley. A.
Publisher
Hogarth Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7012-0784-1
Description
A very readable pocket flora that is well illustrated. Gives some information on plant uses.
,
148
Title
Herbs of Greece.
Publication
 
Author
Niebuhr. A. D.
Publisher
Herb Society of America.
Year
1970
ISBN
-
Description
A pleasant little book about Greek herbs.
].
The wood makes a good charcoal[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
89
Title
Flowers of the Mediterranean.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Huxley. A.
Publisher
Hogarth Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7012-0784-1
Description
A very readable pocket flora that is well illustrated. Gives some information on plant uses.
,
148
Title
Herbs of Greece.
Publication
 
Author
Niebuhr. A. D.
Publisher
Herb Society of America.
Year
1970
ISBN
-
Description
A pleasant little book about Greek herbs.
].

Propagation

Seed - best surface sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be soaked for 5 - 6 days in warm water and then surface sown in a shady position in a greenhouse[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. Do not allow the compost to become dry. 6 weeks cold stratification helps[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. The seed usually germinates well in 2 - 3 months at 20°c[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. Seedlings are prone to damp off[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
], they are best transplanted to individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and should be kept well ventilated. Grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Basal cuttings in late winter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, late autumn in a frame. Poor percentage[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
].
Layering of young wood - can take 2 years[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-09-18. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Arbutus+unedo>

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