How to Beat a Strawberry Tree

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GV’s eyes and ears in Europe, Mike Alexander, introduces readers to an underused drought tolerant shrub (or small tree, if you prefer).

Arbutus unedo, commonly known as the strawberry tree, is a medium sized evergreen (typically 3 to 6 feet tall with varieties that reach 8 to 12 feet) that is native here in Western Europe. It thrives on the sandy coastal soils around the basin de Arcachon in the west of France where it grows among the pines and oaks that are also tough enough to cope with the sandy, windswept conditions. Right now, the trees are covered in their orange-y, red fruit that looks something like a cross between a strawberry and a litchi.

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