13 Facts About Arbutus unedo


Arbutus unedo is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the flowering plant family Ericaceae, native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,648

Arbutus unedo was one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in Volume One of his landmark 1753 work Species Plantarum, giving it the name it still bears today.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,649

Study published in 2001 which analyzed ribosomal DNA from Arbutus and related genera found Arbutus to be paraphyletic, and A unedo to be closely related to the other Mediterranean Basin species such as A andrachne and A canariensis and not to the western North American members of the genus.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,650

Name Arbutus unedo is attributed to Pliny the Elder, who allegedly claimed that "unum tantum edo", meaning "I eat only one".

FactSnippet No. 1,052,651

Arbutus unedo is widespread in the Mediterranean region: in Portugal, Spain and southeastern France; southward in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia, and eastward in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,652

Arbutus unedo is quite an easy plant to cultivate, and is adaptable to many climates.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,653

Arbutus unedo is naturally adapted to dry summer climates, and has become a very popular ornamental plant in California and the rest of the west coast of North America.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,654

Unlike most of the Ericaceae, A unedo grows well in basic pH soils, even though it does better in more acidic soils.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,655

Arbutus unedo's fruits have a high content of sugars, and antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, niacin, tocopherols, and organic acids that are precursors to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids .

FactSnippet No. 1,052,656

Arbutus unedo's leaves have been employed in traditional and folk medicine in the form of a decoction said to have the following properties: astringent, diuretic, urinary anti-septic, antiseptic, intoxicant, rheumatism, tonic, and more recently, in the therapy of hypertension and diabetes.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,657

The Irish association of Arbutus in English gardens is reflected in the inventory taken in 1649 of Henrietta Maria's Wimbledon: "one very fayre tree, called the Irish arbutis standing in the midle parte of the sayd kitchin garden, very lovely to look upon" By the 18th century Arbutus unedo was well known enough in English gardens for Batty Langley to make the bold and impractical suggestion that it might be used for hedges, though it "will not admit of being clipped as other evergreens are".

FactSnippet No. 1,052,658

Arbutus unedo refers to the Aeneid passage in which Pallas, killed by Turnus, was posed on branches of a strawberry tree.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,659

Arbutus unedo saw in the colours of that plant a prefiguration of the flag of Italy and considered Pallas the first national cause martyr.

FactSnippet No. 1,052,660