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Genus Arbutus flowering plants in the family Ericaceae


Arbutus Andrachne — This Mediterranean species is of stout growth, with narrow Laurel-like leaves, reddish deciduous bark, and greenish-white flowers that are produced freely in May. A hybrid form, said to have originated between this species and Arbutus Unedo, partakes in part of the nature of both shrubs, but the flowers are larger than those of Arbutus Unedo.

Arbutus Menziesii — Tall Strawberry Tree. This is hardy in many parts of these islands, particularly maritime districts, and is worthy of culture if only for the large racemose panicles of deliciously-scented white flowers, and peculiar metallic-green leaves. The fruit is orange-red, and only about half the size of those of our commonly cultivated species.

Arbutus Unedo — Strawberry Tree. This is a beautiful evergreen shrub or small-growing tree, sometimes fully 20 feet high, with ovate-lanceolate leaves, and clusters of pure white or yellowish-tinged flowers appearing in September and October. The bright scarlet fruit, about the size of and resembling a Strawberry, is highly ornamental, and when borne in quantity imparts to the plant an unusual and very attractive appearance.

Generally speaking, the Arbutus is hardy, although in inland situations it is sometimes killed to the ground in severe winters, but, springing freely from the root, the plant soon becomes re-established. In a young state it suffers too, but after becoming established and a few feet high, the chances of injury are greatly minimised. Three well-marked varieties are Arbutus Unedo coccinea and Arbutus Unedo rubra, bearing scarlet and deep-red flowers, and Arbutus Unedo microphylla, with much smaller leaves than those of the parent plant.

Arbutus Unedo Croomei differs considerably from the former, in having larger foliage, larger clusters of reddish-pink flowers, and the bark of the young shoots of an enticing ruddy, or rather brownish-red colour. It is a very desirable and highly ornamental plant, and one that is well worthy of extended culture.

There are several others, Arbutus photiniaefolia, Arbutus Rollissoni, Arbutus Millerii, with large leaves, and pretty pink flowers, and Arbutus serratifolia, having deeply serrated leaves. Deep, light loam, if on chalk all the better, and a fairly warm and sheltered situation, would seem to suit the Arbutus best.