The strawberry tree is well known for its fruit, which bear some resemblance to the strawberry — hence the common name. (Richie Steffen)

The strawberry tree is well known for its fruit, which bear some resemblance to the strawberry — hence the common name. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: Arbutus unedo aka strawberry tree

The tree is well known for its fruit, which bear some resemblance to the strawberry — hence the common name.

What: Arbutus unedo is a four-season evergreen shrub with outstanding flowers, fruit, leaves and bark. The small urn-shaped, whitish-pink flowers are produced from October to December. Three-quarter inch knobby fruits gradually ripen to orange-red, and are often in color when the shrub is in full flower. Choose a protected site to ensure fruit every year. The dark green glossy foliage is beautiful, as is the attractive cinnamon-colored bark. Prune shrubs to accentuate the sculptural qualities of the branching and bark.

Where: This versatile shrub nicknamed the strawberry tree tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions, including sand and clay, but it must have a well-drained location. The growth is best in full sun to open shade.

Size: The evergreen will grow to be 20 feet tall with a 20-foot spread when mature.

Care: The strawberry tree is drought tolerant once established. Foliage and flowers may be damaged in unusually cold winters, but it will recover in the spring. Plants in protected locations are more reliable fruit producers.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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