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Strawberry tree

Arbutus unedo


The Strawberry tree becomes a dense evergreen tree, slowly growing 15-30 ft. tall and as wide. Twisting trunks and branches are covered with rough brown bark. Leathery dark green leaves have toothed margins, and grow 2-3 in. long. Clusters of white to pink urn-shaped flowers are noticeable in late fall and early winter. Showy red to yellow fruit occur in winter.

Strawberry tree comes from Europe and north Africa, with the greatest occurrence in dry foothills, canyons and slopes around the Mediterranean Sea. It is a tough and durable species, tolerant of heat, cold and reduced amounts of summer moisture. It grows in both slightly acid to slightly alkaline soils, but always does best with good drainage. These adaptations enable the strawberry tree to grow extremely well throughout the Inland Empire in a variety of landscape situations.

This species of Strawberry tree is perhaps one of the best large shrubs or small trees for our inland gardens. It grows slowly, but provides garden value for many years. Young plants need time to grow and pruning is needed to develop good shape and branching character. Large specimens can be seen in older gardens in the Inland Empire where they are highly valued for their interesting form, trunk and bark characteristics. It is commonly used as a low-branching specimen plant in residential and commercial courtyards, in raised planters and around lawns. A compact form, Arbutus undo ‘Compacta’ is also very popular and is described here.

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Slow
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Pink, White
Flower Season: Winter, Fall
Soil Adaptations: Acidic soil, Well-draining soil, Clay, Alkaline soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Shade Tree, Screening, Residential spaces, Hummingbird plant, Flowering accent plant, Courtyard and patio tree
Height: 15 ft. – 30 ft.
Width: 15 ft. – 30 ft.

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