Arbutus Species, Killarney Strawberry Tree, Western Strawberry Tree

Arbutus unedo

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arbutus (ar-BYOO-tus) (Info)
Species: unedo (YOO-nee-doe) (Info)
Synonym:Arbutus crispa
Synonym:Arbutus croomii
Synonym:Arbutus idaea
Synonym:Arbutus integrifolia
Synonym:Arbutus intermedia




Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:



15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

From hardwood heel cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Pelham, Alabama

Cottonwood, Arizona

Kingman, Arizona

Calabasas, California

Clovis, California

Davis, California

El Cajon, California

Encinitas, California

Escondido, California

Granite Hills, California

Harbison Canyon, California

La Jolla, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Napa, California

Newport Beach, California

Rancho San Diego, California

San Clemente, California

San Diego, California(3 reports)

Santa Cruz, California

Santa Monica, California

Saratoga, California

Lewes, Delaware

Loxahatchee, Florida

Kalkaska, Michigan

Las Vegas, Nevada

Raleigh, North Carolina

Brookings, Oregon

Harbor, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon(2 reports)

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Sumter, South Carolina

Bellevue, Washington

Bremerton, Washington

Edmonds, Washington

Orchards, Washington

Point Roberts, Washington

Vancouver, Washington(2 reports)

White Center, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 6, 2011, music53singer from worcester,
United Kingdom wrote:

This tree has grown well in my garden in Worcestershire has reached 6m and its fruits a so pretty.I want to try and propagate from the tree so will try seeds and hard wood cuttings in the summer.


On Jul 22, 2010, TynanWyatt from San Diego, CA wrote:

I have much experience with unusual edibles and that is what spurred me to try the fruits of this tree. Even though many people cite the "unedo" of the botanical name as meaning "eat one" and therefore it must have a bad taste I have to disagree. Eating fully ripe fruit has been a fantastic experience and I'd say I'd eat them over commercial strawberries (not alpine or musk though), blueberries, rasp- or blackberries, and many others.
When fully ripe they are a deep, shiny red and are very soft. If they are not soft to the point of being hard to keep the fruit together when pulling it off the branch it is not fully ripe. Heat may help develop full flavor as my experience has been on landscape plants at Mesa College in San Diego, CA, USA.
~Tynan Wyatt


On Jul 29, 2005, panwali from MANRESA,
Spain wrote:

Where I live, NE Spain, the Strawberry Tree is a native. Here the most frequent colour in flowers is a pale yellow. I grow one in a big container on my balcony. Every year I get a crop of round red berries that taste better than those found in the wild, I ignore the reason why. What I know for sure is that they become much more pallatable if left to over-ripe.


On Jul 22, 2005, Kwanzon from Milford, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

The Arbutus unedo produces fruit that have an... erm... unusual taste. The species name unedo translates as "eat one". However in Italy on Corsica the fruit of Arbutus unedo is used in wine liqueur and chocolates. The wood if it also was used for making parts for looms. The roots and leaves have an astringent effect so they can be used for medicinal purposes. Overall this plant is very useful and nothing goes to waste. But dont be confuesed with Arbutus andrachne because their friuts are inedible.


On Sep 24, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Nice looking tree, and yes the fruits are edible... but yuck... taste bad (birds love them, though)


On Aug 28, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Strawberry tree is an evergreen broadleaf shrub or small tree with a spreading, picturesque habit, and gray-brown bark that flakes and peels in thin plates to reveal the reddish young bark beneath.

Strawberry tree is native to Ireland, southern Europe and the western Mediterranean region (Turkey, Greece, Lebanon) where it grows in rocky, well-drained soils.

Strawberry tree is an excellent choice for a shrub border or woodland garden, or even as a small specimen tree. Smaller cultivars are good in containers or on the patio.

It is also salt-tolerant.


On Oct 9, 2002, philomel from Castelnau RB Pyrenes,
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

The flowers and strawberry like fruit are present on the tree at the same time in late autumn, giving a good display

As the tree matures, the gnarled trunk with brown shredding bark becomes more apparent.

Although a member of the Ericaceae, this plant is lime tolerant
It is frost hardy, but needs to be protected from strong cold winds when young. It enjoys full sun and fertile well drained soil.