Arbutus unedo 'Oktoberfest'

Common Name: strawberry tree 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: October to November
Bloom Description: Deep pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10 where it is easily grown in average, consistently moist to dry, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants have some drought tolerance.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Arbutus unedo, commonly called strawberry tree, is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree that is native rocky slopes, hillsides, and shrublands of the Mediterranean and the British Isles. It typically grows in a multi-stemmed form, but can be trained as a single trunk tree. It matures to 10-15' tall but infrequently grows to as much as 30' tall. Mature trunks and branches are covered with grayish-brown bark which peels and flakes to reveal an attractive reddish-brown inner bark. Urn-shaped, aromatic, pinkish-white flowers in drooping panicles (to 2" long) bloom in October, with bloom often continuing until January. Long-stemmed, spherical, green fruits (to 1"diameter) appear in winter after the flowers, but take almost a full year to ripen. As new white flowers begin to bloom in October, the fruits from the preceding winter ripen to strawberry red, leaving the plant with the unusual situation of having both attractive flowers and ripe fruit at the same time. Although the ripe fruits (each to 3/4" in diameter) have the same color as strawberries, they unfortunately do not have the same flavor as strawberries (exceedingly bland). Glossy, leathery, obovate, dark green leaves (to 4" long) have red stems and serrate margins.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for this plant.

The specific epithet undedo is a combination of the Latin words unum meaning "one" and edo meaning "eat" resulting in "I eat one" in reference to the edible (but unpalatable) fruit.

'Oktoberfest' is a compact selection of strawberry tree that features deep pink blooms and showy, red-brown bark. Mature plants will reach 6-8' tall with a similar spread. The fall blooms are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators and the fruits, which mature in winter, are attractive to birds.


No serious insect or disease problems. Flowers and fruit may be damaged in cold winter conditions. Aphids may appear. Watch for fungal leaf spot.


Accent /specimen with four-season ornamental interest. Woodland garden margins, mixed shrub borders, road medians, seaside gardens, hedges, screens.