by Stephen Mifsud
   25 Jul 2024      ()
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Arbutus unedo   (Strawberry Tree)

Arbutus unedo  (ERICACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Feb-2010 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Arbutus unedo - datasheet created on Feb-2010. Retrieved from on 25-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Arbutus unedoL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 395 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Arbutus pavarii Pamp.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Ericaceae Juss. (The Heath Family)
2 species from the Ericaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Strawberry Tree, Arbutus

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Cultivated species. Introduced plants cultivated for agricultural or horticultural purposes but sometimes can be occassionaly found as an escapee close to the site of their original cultivation.

Frequency :

Data not available - casual or short-lived in the wild from accidental garden or agriculture escape

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

December – February

Colour of Flowers:

White or Pink


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Arbutus: An ancient Latinised name from the Celtic word arboise referring to a rough fruit given for the warty fruit of these plants. (J )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Evergreen scrub, wood-margins and rocky slopes
Preferred habitat in Malta: Known plants are of cultivated origin but some records might have been old enough to consider this species as an archaeophyte or perhaps native
Botanical Description: Usually a bushy shrub 1·5-3 m, occasionally a small tree up to 12 m. Bark fissured, peeling off in small flakes, mostly dull brown; young twigs glandular-setose, at least in part. Leaves 4-11 × 1·5-4 cm, oblong-lanceolate, usually 2-3 times as long as wide, serrate to subentire, glabrous except at extreme base; petiole 10 mm or less. Panicle 4-5 cm, drooping, appearing in autumn. Calyx 1·5 mm, with suborbicular lobes; corolla c. 9 × 7 mm, white, often tinged with green or pink. Berry c. 20 mm, covered with conical papillae, ripening through yellow and scarlet to deep crimson.
Distributional range: Mediterranean region and S. W. Europe, extending northwards locally to N.W. Ireland.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Ireland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? AE(G) Ag Al Bl Bu Co Cr Ct Cy Ga Gr Hb(E) Hs(S) -IJ It LS Lu Ma Sa Si(S) Sl Tn Tu(A E) Uk [Ca(C T)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (5 images)
   Arbutus unedo   -   Image Code: ARBUN-0.
   Arbutus unedo   -   Image Code: ARBUN-1.
   Arbutus unedo   -   Image Code: ARBUN-2.
   Arbutus unedo   -   Image Code: ARBUN-3.
   Arbutus unedo   -   Image Code: ARBUN-4.

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