An evergreen shrub from the Mediterranean coastal region. In mid fall to early winter, the rough textured strawberry sized fruit ripen to a bright red. Ripe fruits are edible and sweet (unripe fruits cause nausea). Winter blooms on warm sunny winter days are much appreciated by bees. In the landscape, it provides year round interest with its lovely leaves contrast nicely against the near white flowers, and yellow & red fruits. Needs little if any care.
This is another forgotten edible humanity has consumed for thousands of years. Tasty raw or cooked. Ripe fruit can be very sweet where some make wine. High in Vitamin C. In Greece, known as koumara, fruit are plucked and eaten as is. I’ve seen recipes for crumble cake and jam.
Myth and magic surround this plant in many cultures. Romans considered it good luck. Its green, orange and white colours, used as a symbol of national unity, inspired the nations tricoloured flag.
- Seed Count: 40-50
- Collection Date: Oct 2020
- Hardiness Zone: 7-10
- Height and Width: 2-10m x 3-10m
- Preferred conditions: sunny; well draining poor soils
- Germination test type: float
- Family: Ericaceae
How to germinate Arbutus unedo seeds:
Soak seed 24 hours. Cold stratify in a resealable baggie with moist medium 60 days. Sow thinly in containers or flats. Growing medium should be well draining gritty medium. Use sharp sand as the sowing surface. Press seed into sand. Do not cover. Keep moist, shaded, and cool. Prick out seedlings (if growing in flats not growing in dedicated containers) at second true leaf stage in pots to minimize handling. Seat in their final growing position where their roots will not be disturbed.