Every month, Francisco Bermejo of Canriensis Garden Design introduces us to a native Canarian plant. This month it’s the beautiful Canarian strawberry tree (Arbutus canariensis).
The Canarian strawberry tree (or Madroño Canario) is a mediumsized tree with permanent leaves. These leaves are larger than those of its close relative, the Mediterranean strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), which is the tree that is being raided by a bear in the famous emblem of Spain’s capital city, Madrid.
The Canarian Strawberry tree is found naturally on all the Canary Islands except for Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and forming part of the typical Canarian laurel forests found on the western islands.
Its a beautiful tree whose ornamental value is unquestionable, so its hard to understand why it’s so underused here, unlike the Mediterranean strawberry tree, which is widely grown throughout Europe.
In autumn or early winter, strawberry trees are filled with numerous clusters of highly fragrant white or pinkish flowers in the shape of small bells. These flowers give way to numerous orange or yellow, spherical and edible fruits of 2 or 3 cm in diameter. They are consumed fresh, or used for jams and preserves. Liqueurs are also produced based on the fruit of the strawberry tree.
The wood of the strawberry tree is of great beauty and quality. It has been widely used throughout history, to carry out fine carpentry work.
Medicinal properties such as astringent, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic are attributed to the strawberry tree, using the leaves and bark for this.
Unfortunately, in Lanzarote, this native species is used very little in gardening, but if you want a delightful tree with immense cultural significance, it’s worth investigating.
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