The strawberry tree
The Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife announces the Plant of the Month the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) is a slow-growing evergreen shrub or small tree which is found in the Mediterranean region, the Canaries, Portugal, on the French Atlantic coast and in Southwest Ireland.
It is easily identifiable by its dense and irregular crown, its twisted reddish-brown trunk, its simple leaves with serrated margins and its colourful fruits which make it a beautiful tree. The fruits turn from green to yellow and orange and finally to dark red when they are ripe.
The flesh of the fruit, which is edible, is sweet and juicy, and contains numerous seeds. In the Alhambra and the Generalife the fruits ripen in late autumn/early winter and are still on the tree when it flowers.
The strawberry tree is a source of food for both birds and mammals. Its scientific name comes from the latin “arbor” (small tree), “unus” (one) and “edo” (to eat), thereby meaning “I eat (only) one”.