Though the Strawberry-tree may be seen in parks
and gardens, it will not be found in the woods
or by the waysides in Great Britain; but in parts
of Ireland it is native. Killarney, Muckross,
and Bantry are stated as Irish stations, but it
has also been found in the woods at Woodstock,
Co. Kilkenny, in a situation where it seemed unlikely
such a tree would be planted.
In Ireland it attains a maximum height of forty
feet, though in England it rarely exceeds twenty
or thirty feet under cultivation.
The bark is rough as scaly, tinged with red, and
The leathery leaves are more or less oval, two
or three inches long, with toothed edges and hairy
stalks. Although arranged alternately on the shoots,
they present the appearance at a little distance
of being clustered, rosette fashion, at the tips
of the twigs.
The creamy-white or pinkish flowers are clustered
in drooping racemes at the ends of the twigs,
and are about one-third of an inch across, bell-shaped.
After the fertilization of the seeds the corollas
drop off, so that in the flowering season (September
and October) the ground beneath will usually be
found strewn with them.
The fruit is a round berry, of an orange-red hue,
whose surface is completely studded with little
points. As these berries do not come to maturity
until about fourteen months after the flowers
have dropped their corollas, both flowers and
almost full-formed fruit may be seen on the tree
at the same time. They are not edible until they
are quite ripe, and even then they are too austere
to suit everybody’s taste. In truth, we
have it on the testimony of Pliny that the old
Latin name Unedo, now included in the specific
scientific name, was given to it because to eat
one of these tree strawberries was a sufficiently
extensive acquaintance for most persons.
It is perhaps unnecessary to add that, in spite
of the name, there is no relationship existing
between this tree and the Strawberry; not is there
more than a faint superficial resemblance between
the fruits of the two plants. The Strawberry belongs
to the great Rose family, whilst the nearest British
connections of the Arbutus are the Bilberries