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Arbutus Unedo Rubra or the Pink Strawberry Tree is not to be confused with the related Arbutus Unedo (Strawberry Tree) which we also have in stock. This Rubra variety of Arbutus is an AGM recipient. Arbutus Unedo Rubra is a large bushy evergreen shrub or tree with dark green leathery leaves. Rosy-pink urn-shaped flowers appear in panicles as the red, strawberry-like fruits, from the previous year’s flowers, ripen.
Of the Family Ericaceae, the Genus Arbutus occur as evergreen trees or shrubs with a small flowering habit. The blooms are bell-shaped, usually of a white or pink colour (pink for Rubra), and strawberry like fruits that emerge in the autumn. A few interesting items of note regarding its history, the Strawberry Tree is featured on the coat of arms for Madrid, where a bear is reaching for an arbutus fruit. The name Unedo comes from a Latin phrase ‘unum edo’ meaning, “I eat one”…likely referring to the fact that the fruit is rather bland and mealy, hence leaving the consumer not caring much for another. The fruit is however excellent for giving substance to pies and mixing with other fruits to make jams. As a member of the Ericaceae family, the Arbutus is distantly related to rhododendrons and azaleas.
The variety Arbutus Unedo Rubra is a large bushy shrub with rough reddish bark and dark green leathery leaves and its flowers are of a rosy-pink and urn-shaped presentation, with the typical strawberry-like fruits. A native of Western Ireland and Southern Europe, the Strawberry Tree is fairly well adapted to our region, hardy to Zone H5 in the UK and Ireland.
Arbutus Unedo Rubra prefer full sun positions, with aspects ranging from north-facing to east-facing, south-facing, or west-facing. They’d like to be sheltered with limited exposure to harsh winds. Younger plants are more likely to be injured by frost than more mature plants. In terms of preferred soil, they like well drained sites, and are not terribly picky regarding pH. Preference would be on the slightly acid side, but they can tolerate alkaline soils as well.
Some suggested locations include as a low maintenance coastal patio plant or container plant or in their own beds.
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