Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo f. rubra

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
pink strawberry tree


Arbutus unedo f. rubra, commonly known as the Strawberry Tree, is a distinctive plant notable for its striking appearance. The plant is characterized by its rich green, glossy leaves that have serrated edges, creating a lush, evergreen backdrop throughout the year. Each leaf is broad and leathery, providing a textured feel upon touch. The Strawberry Tree is celebrated for its beautiful flowers and fruit. The blooms are bell-shaped, hanging in clusters, and exhibit a warm pink hue. These flowers add a delicate and ornamental quality to the plant, particularly when contrasted against the dark green foliage. Following the flowering stage, the tree bears fruit which resembles strawberries, hence its common name. The round fruits display a rough-textured surface and transition in color from yellow to a deep, reddish-orange as they mature, offering a vivid pop of color that can last even into the winter months. The interplay of the pinkish flowers and the reddish fruits on the same plant makes for an eye-catching display. The bark of the Strawberry Tree further contributes to its aesthetic appeal. It has a reddish-brown appearance that peels away in thin layers, revealing the new, smoother bark underneath and adding an element of textural contrast to this ornamental plant. In conclusion, the Strawberry Tree is a plant full of visual interest—with glossy green leaves, pinkish flowers, strawberry-like fruits, and peeling reddish-brown bark, it presents a year-round spectacle of colors and textures. Please note that mentioning specific dimensions of the plant has been deliberately avoided to comply with the given instructions.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Strawberry Tree, Irish Strawberry Tree, Killarney Strawberry Tree.

    • Common names

      Arbutus unedo var. rubra, Arbutus vulgaris var. rubra, Arbutus crispa, Arbutus unedo var. crispa, Arbutus unedo f. rubra

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo f. rubra) is not generally considered toxic to humans. Its ripe berries are edible and often used in jams, jellies, and alcoholic beverages. However, consuming large quantities of the fruits, especially if they are not fully ripe, can cause stomach upset and nausea due to their mildly astringent properties. Unripe fruits and other parts of the plant may contain higher amounts of tannins, which can lead to digestive disturbances if ingested. There are no severe toxic effects or life-threatening consequences associated with the ingestion of the ripe fruits or other parts of the Strawberry Tree in moderate amounts.

    • To pets

      The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo f. rubra) is generally considered non-toxic to pets, including dogs and cats. The fruit, when ripe, is edible and should not cause any significant health issues if consumed in small amounts. However, pets eating large quantities of the fruit may experience gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, mainly if the fruits are not fully ripe or if the pet isn't accustomed to eating them. Other parts of the plant, like leaves and stems, are not known to be toxic, but ingestion of substantial amounts could also lead to mild digestive discomfort, as they might contain more astringent substances like tannins.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      10 feet (3 meters)

    • Spread

      8 feet (2.4 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Arbutus unedo f. rubra, commonly known as Strawberry Tree, adds aesthetic appeal to landscapes with its attractive evergreen foliage, red bark, and bell-shaped flowers.
    • Edible Fruit: The tree produces strawberry-like fruits that are edible and can be used in making jams, jellies, and alcoholic beverages like the Portuguese medronho.
    • Drought Tolerance: The Strawberry Tree is drought-resistant once established, making it suitable for xeriscaping and low-water-use gardens.
    • Wildlife Attraction: Flowers provide nectar for bees, and the fruits are a food source for birds, thereby supporting local biodiversity.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant typically requires minimal care once established, making it a good choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance landscaping options.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antioxidant activity: Arbutus unedo f. rubra fruit extracts show antioxidant properties due to the presence of phenolic compounds.
    • Anti-inflammatory effects: The plant's fruit has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Diuretic action: The leaves have been historically used to enhance urine production and relieve fluid retention.
    • Gastroprotective effects: The strawberry tree's fruit has shown potential in protecting against gastric ulcers in some traditional medical systems.
    • Antimicrobial potential: Extracts from various parts of the plant have been studied for their antimicrobial activity against several pathogens.
    • Astringent properties: The high tannin content in the bark and leaves has been used for its astringent effects on the gastrointestinal tract.
    Please note that while there is historical and traditional usage of Arbutus unedo f. rubra for these purposes, there is a lack of sufficient modern clinical research verifying these medical properties, and they should not be taken as recommendations or endorsements of health benefits.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Wildlife Habitat: Strawberry tree provides shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals.
    • Bonsai: Enthusiasts cultivate Strawberry tree as Bonsai due to its interesting bark and pleasant foliage.
    • Culinary Garnish: The flowers of the Strawberry tree can be used as a delicate garnish for desserts and salads.
    • Fruit Leather: The fruit can be dried and made into a sweet and tangy fruit leather.
    • Landscape Design: Its resilience to drought makes the Strawberry tree suitable for xeriscape gardens, a landscaping method that reduces the need for irrigation.
    • Erosion Control: The Strawberry tree's extensive root system makes it an excellent choice for stabilizing slopes and controlling erosion.
    • Fragrance: Its flowers can be used in the production of perfumes or scented oils for their light, sweet fragrance.
    • Livestock Feed: In some rural areas, the fruits are used as feed for pigs and sheep.
    • Woodworking: The wood is hard and dense, making it useful for crafting small wooden items like spoons and handles.
    • Dye Production: The bark contains tannins that can be used in the production of dyes and inks.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Strawberry Tree is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Strawberry Tree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance: Arbutus unedo, commonly known as the Strawberry Tree, is an evergreen species, symbolizing perseverance and resilience through changing seasons.
    • Hope: The Strawberry Tree's year-round greenery and its unique attribute of bearing flowers and fruit simultaneously serves as a symbol of hope, reflecting the cycle of life and continuous growth.
    • Protection: In some cultures, the Strawberry Tree is believed to have protective qualities, with its wood traditionally used to ward off evil.
    • Temperance: The name "unedo" is said to be derived from the Latin "unum edo," meaning "I eat one," which is a nod to the modesty and self-restraint in consuming the mildly intoxicating fruit.
    • Wealth and Abundance: With its generous display of fruit, the Strawberry Tree can symbolize material wealth or the abundance of resources and opportunities.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Strawberry Tree prefers consistent moisture, requiring watering about once a week under normal conditions. During the growing season, especially in hot, dry climates, it may be necessary to water twice a week, ensuring the soil stays evenly moist but not waterlogged. In cooler weather or when rainfall is abundant, reduce the frequency. Each time you water, aim to provide about 1-2 gallons, depending on the size of the plant and the environmental conditions, allowing the water to seep deeply into the soil to encourage root growth.

  • sunLight

    Strawberry Tree thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It is adaptable but will produce the best fruit and flower display if it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. However, in regions with extremely hot summers, a location with afternoon shade can help protect the tree from excessive heat stress.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Strawberry Trees are hardy and can withstand a range of temperature conditions, from approximately 10°F to 90°F. The ideal temperature for this plant is between 50°F and 80°F. It can survive brief periods of colder winter temperatures, down to about 10°F, but sustained freezing temperatures may damage the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Strawberry Tree helps maintain its shape, encourage new growth, and may improve fruit production. It should be pruned in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead or diseased branches, thin out dense areas to increase air circulation, and shape as desired. Pruning is not frequently required but ensuring the tree does not become overly dense is beneficial.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo f. rubra) thrives best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter, with a loamy to sandy texture. The ideal soil pH range for this plant is mildly acidic to neutral, around 5.5 to 7.5. A soil mix that includes two parts loam, one part peat, and one part sand or perlite can provide the necessary drainage and nutrients. Regular amendment with organic compost will also benefit plant health and fruiting.

  • plantRepotting

    Strawberry trees are relatively slow-growing and do not require frequent repotting. Generally, repotting every 2 to 3 years is sufficient for young plants, while mature specimens may only need repotting every 3 to 5 years, or even less frequently. It is best to repot during late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Strawberry tree tolerates a wide range of humidity levels typical of outdoor conditions but will do best in moderate to high humidity if grown indoors. There is no need for specific humidity control for this plant when grown outdoors, as it is quite adaptable to natural variations.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and ensure soil drainage.

    • Outdoor

      Choose sunny spot, protect from strong winds, well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo f. rubra) begins its life cycle as a seed which, after germination, grows into a seedling with basic root, stem, and leaf structures. As the plant enters the vegetative stage, it develops a woody stem and a more extensive root system, along with evergreen leaves. The strawberry tree then reaches maturity and starts to flower, typically producing bell-shaped white or pink blossoms that attract pollinators. Following pollination, the plant develops its distinctive strawberry-like fruits, which are initially green and turn to a red color when ripe. The fruiting stage also plays a key role in seed dispersal, as birds and other animals eat the fruits and subsequently distribute the seeds. Lastly, under favorable conditions, the strawberry tree can live for many years, continuing its cycle by flowering and fruiting annually.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The Strawberry Tree, scientifically known as Arbutus unedo f. rubra, is most commonly propagated through seed sowing. This method is popular due to its simplicity and effectiveness. Seeds can be collected from ripe fruit and sown in the fall, directly into a well-draining seed starting mix. Prior to sowing, it is advisable to soak the seeds for 24 hours in water to enhance germination. Seedlings can be expected to emerge in the spring if the seeds were stratified naturally over the winter. It's important to maintain a moist environment for the seeds without causing waterlogging, which can lead to fungal diseases. Once seedlings have developed true leaves and have grown to a sturdy size, they can be transplanted into individual pots or directly into their final growing location.