What are the characteristics, features and cultivation of arbutus trees? Information about arbutus species and arbutus trees.
ARBUTUS, is a genus of trees and shrubs in the heath family (Ericaceae), comprising about 20 species native to southern Asia, the Mediterranean region, and western North and South America as far south as Chile. The species are characterized by smooth red branches, thin, scaly bark that continually peels off, and lustrous, evergreen, long-petioled leaves. The clustered flowers are small, ovate, and white to red in color; the fruits are globular, many-seeded, red berries. Especially common in cultivation in warm-temperate regions is the strawberry tree, A. unedo, a small, southern European species with conspicuous fruits. Native in western North America is the madrona or madrone, A. menziesii, a handsome forest tree reaching over 100 feet (30 meters) in height, whose exfoliating bark leaves a highly polished trunk bright with shades of red, brown, and green. The Arizona madrona, A. arizonica, is a smaller tree with pale green leaves, red branches, and a pale gray or white trunk. Trailing arbutus belongs to the genus Epigaea.