Garden

Strawberry tree - Arbutus

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Arbutus

Evergreen tree or shrub originating in Ireland and the countries bordering the Mediterranean, which can reach 9-10 meters in height, but which most commonly remains around 4-5 meters in size. It has gray-brown bark, which peels off; the leaves are oblong-lanceolate, toothed, dark green and shiny, similar to those of the oleander. At the end of summer, it produces countless white flowers, in some suffused red or green varieties, bell-shaped; in the same period the fruits ripen, which therefore take almost a whole year to mature, the particularity of the arbutus consists in the fact that on the same plant ripe fruits and flowers can be found simultaneously. The fruits are rounded, yellow-red, sweet, with slightly wrinkled rind, when ripe they tend to fall from the tree.

The botanical name of the arbutus and Arbutus unedo L. It is a small evergreen tree that reaches a maximum height of ten meters. Some varieties are also smaller. The plant, belonging to the Ericaceae family, is native to the Mediterranean basin, Ireland, Asia and the Americas. The bark of the tree is reddish and tends to darken with advancing age.


Exposure of the Strawberry Tree

The strawberry tree loves sunny positions, but it adapts well to semi-shaded places, especially if grown in very hot areas; it does not fear the cold weather, even if the young plants are to be hospitalized in a cold greenhouse, or sheltered on non-woven fabric, at least for the first two years of life. THE arbutus they do not particularly like cold and dry winds, even if they adapt to damp winds from the sea.

This tree, in the right climatic conditions, is very adaptable. It grows well both in full sun and in a shady position (for example under the maritime pines). If grown in the North it is in any case advisable to place it in a warm and well exposed area (for example to the South), but making sure that in winter it is sheltered from the cold currents (which could cause branch drying and damage to leaves and flowers, compromising fruiting).

The strawberry tree, after years of oblivion, is returning to fashion and is increasingly used both as an interest-bearing fruit and as an ornamental tree. This renewed interest is due to the beauty of its fruits and leaves as well as the undeniable virtue of cheering up the garden with its flowering during the autumn, a season in which the other plants are unattractive and prepare for rest. It is also very resistant to drought and fire, therefore suitable for low-maintenance Mediterranean gardens.

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