The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) is native to the Mediterranean region, including Portugal, Spain, and Italy. It is a small evergreen tree that grows to a height of 10-15 feet and has a broad crown. The tree has dark green leaves that are oblong in shape and have a glossy appearance. Its flowers are white or pale pink and are bell-shaped. The fruit of the tree is a red berry that resembles a strawberry in size and shape, hence the common name of the tree. The fruit is edible and is often used in jams and jellies.
The strawberry tree prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil and full sun to partial shade. It is drought-tolerant once established and can tolerate frost, making it a good choice for gardeners in cold climates. To cultivate the tree successfully, gardeners should plant it in an area with good drainage and provide it with regular watering during dry spells.
The strawberry tree has a number of uses. In addition to its edible fruit, the tree can be used as a decorative addition to gardens and landscapes. The wood of the tree is also used for carving and making musical instruments. Some people also use the fruit and leaves of the tree for medicinal purposes, as they contain compounds that may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The strawberry tree is also attractive to wildlife, providing food and shelter for birds and other animals. Its fruit is a favorite food of birds such as thrushes and jays, and the tree’s dense canopy provides shelter for birds and other small animals.