Plant of the Week - Strawberry tree

The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) is a large, bushy evergreen shrub that brings a hint of summer as winter approaches.

Part of the Ericaceae family, it has dark green, glossy leaves and rough brown bark. The white flowers are a delicate urn shape, and appear at the same time as the strawberry-like (but not edible) fruits from last year ripen. In time, it will grow up to eight metres tall, with a similar spread. The plant is originally from southern Europe, south-west Ireland and Asia Minor, but you can see it in the Hayrick border in the Parks. It grows quite reliably in most aspects and is hardy once mature, but prefers full sun in a sheltered spot with moist but well-drained soil. You can grow the strawberry tree from seed, or propagate it from semi hardwood cuttings. It does not generally require pruning, but if necessary prune lightly in late winter or early spring.

strawberry tree
Strawberry tree
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