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A picture of a Kilarney Strawberry Tree

Kilarney Strawberry Tree

Arbutus unedo

Also known as

Strawberry Tree, Cane Apple, Dalmatian Strawberry, Irish Strawberry-Tree, Western Strawberry-Tree, Arbutus

Arbutus unedo 20091012 1 by Luis Fernández García (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Frost Hardy

H5

RHS hardiness

-15°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

10m

Max

8m

5m

Min

5m

3 years to reach maturity

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Fruit falls from the tree when it is fully ripe. Make sure the fruit has a soft surface to fall on so that it is not damaged by the fall. Fruit can be picked when it is deep red in colour and very soft to the touch.

More images

Arbutus unedo
Arbutus unedo, Livorno
A photo of Kilarney Strawberry Tree
A photo of Kilarney Strawberry Tree
A photo of Kilarney Strawberry Tree

Overview

The strawberry tree is a slow-growing, evergreen ornamental shrub or small tree species with a bushy growth habit, commonly grown in many parts of the world. With its dark green leaves, white bell-shaped flowers & small red fruit, this plant is a popular choice for garden planting. This hardy species can be grown into a rough but pretty hedge & looks great in a woodland garden setting. The fruit is edible when fully ripe but has a bland flavour so is not regularly eaten fresh. This fruit has a high sugar content so is more frequently processed in jams & jellies.

Common problems

Pests include scales and thrips, and diseases include anthracnose, Phytophthora, root rot, and rust.

Companion plants

Olives. Under-plant with hellebores, wood anemones and spring bulbs

Propagation

Cuttings

Use mature wood about 15 - 20cm long of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel.

Layering

Layering of young wood - can take 2 years to make roots.

Seed

This is best sown on the surface of compost in a greenhouse as soon as it's ripe. If ripe seed are unobtainable, then soak store seed for 5 - 6 days in warm water before being sown in late winter.

Special Features

Attracts birds

The fruits are food for birds.

Attracts useful insects

Serves as a food for bees in honey production.

Hedge plant

Used as a hedge shrub in gardens and public landscapes. Prune minimally & don't try to make a defined hedge from this shrub.

Drought resistant

Very drought tolerant, once established.

Attractive flowers

Attractive fruits

Uses

Medicinal

In folk medicine, the plant has been used for antiseptic, astringent, intoxicant, rheumatism, and tonic purposes. The flowers are weakly diaphoretic.

Edible

Ornamental

Popular choice of shrub / tree to plant in your garden.

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