Strawberry Tree

Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree, occasionally cane apple) is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the family Ericaceae, native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland. Due to its presence in southwest and northwest Ireland, it is known as either “Irish strawberry tree” or sometimes “Killarney strawberry tree”.

Strawberry Tree

The leaves are dark green and glossy, 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) broad, with a serrated margin.

The hermaphrodite flowers are white (rarely pale pink), bell-shaped, 4–6 mm diameter, produced panicles of 10–30 together in autumn. They are pollinated by bees.

Strawberry Tree Flowers

 

The fruit is a red berry, 1–2 cm diameter, with a rough surface, maturing 12 months at the same time as the next flowering. The fruit is edible, though many people find it bland and meally; the name ‘unedo’ is explained by Pliny the Elder as being derived from unum edo “I eat one”,[4] which may seem an apt response to the flavour.

Strawberry_tree_berry

 

Arbutus unedo serves as a bee plant for honey production, and the fruits are food for birds. The fruits are also used to make jams, beverages, and liqueurs (such as the Portuguese medronho, a type of strong brandy). Honey produced has a characteristic bitter taste.[6]

In folk medicine, the plant has been used for antiseptic, astringent, intoxicant, rheumatism, and tonic purposes.[7]

 

Source:  Wikipedia –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbutus_unedo

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