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Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by ptjmliao, Nov 21, 2020.
Wondering the name of the tree in attached pictures? Is the fruit edible? Thanks.
It's Arbutus unedo, common name strawberry tree. The fruits are edible, though they don't get rave reviews. I just learned from Arbutus unedo - Wikipedia that they're the basis of the alcoholic drink rakia, which is distilled twice to reduce the amount of methanol.
The species name unedo means "I eat only one" - though they're not quite that bad, actually, I once managed to eat ten at a sitting ツ
The red outer skin is rather gritty-textured, and the inside mealy and lacking in flavour, but they're not bitter or astringent or otherwise nasty.
Thanks for the response Michael and Wcutler.
It interests me - esp w reply from person who seems to be in UK that this plant and fruit was featured in UK designer William Morris fabric and wallpaper designs over a century ago (this I think is 1913) - see link below
And yet we have Arbutus naturally and uniquely in the Pac NW — are the two related?
William Morris - A History | William Morris Wallpaper
William Morris Wallpapers | William Morris Wallpaper
Yes, they are both species in the Genus Arbutus. Arbutus unedo is native to Europe, n Africa and w Asia. Arbutus arizonica looks very similar to our Arbutus menziesii. A. menziesii fruit is also edible, but even less desirable. Dry and mealy.
Though I remember seeing a genetic study that showed that the Old World and New World Arbutus species are not each others closest relatives; the Old World Arbutus are more closely related to Arctostaphylos (Manzanitas) than they are to the New World Arbutus. The New World species should really be split off as a new genus, but it hasn't been done yet.
Edit: found it - http://online.sfsu.edu/parker/pages/respubs/HilemanEtAl2001.pdf
19 years ago, very odd that nothing has been done about it!