Strawberry tree - Arbutus unedo
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The strawberry tree
The Corbezzolo, vulgar name of Arbutus Unedo, is native to the Mediterranean region, but also to the Canaries and north-western America. It belongs to the Ericaceae family and is classified as an evergreen tree or shrub: it reaches heights that can reach 12 meters, boasting erect branches, pinkish the younger ones, more scaly and darker the older ones. Its crown is rounded and the leaves, which denote a toothed margin, are 5 to 8 centimeters long. These are dark green in the upper part and lighter in the lower part.
Flowers and fruits of the Strawberry Tree
The strawberry tree it has small flowers of various colors: from white to pink to green, with the corolla divided into five teeth, supported by a five-lobed chalice. It produces a brightly colored fruit: a red and round berry with a pleasant flavor, although in the etymology of its Latin name Arbutus unedo, coined, according to the traditions by Pliny the Elder, the second word "un-edo" would have the meaning : eat it only once, that is an invitation to avoid its not very gratifying taste .. In reality this small fruit, one or at most two centimeters wide, has a grainy surface and a juicy pulp from which a refined honey is produced, although little known.
Environment and exposure
The Strawberry Tree, it has been said, is a Mediterranean plant, resistant to drought and the typical marine climate. Its preference goes to siliceous and sandy soils, arid and not excessively acidic, while calcareous soils are very unwelcome. It is also important that the soils in which it grows are well drained, porous and very fertile.
It prefers full sun to half shade: the climate suitable for its cultivation must not be too cold, in particular it is better that the temperature of its habitat does not drop beyond 5 ° C. In the coldest months, which can easily cause damage for the flowers that open from October to February, it is advisable to let the plant live in a greenhouse or to shelter the smaller plants with straw.
Watering and fertilization
Rather scarce watering is to be done, given the easy adaptability of the plant to long periods of drought. The plant is also well suited to living in an urban context, grown in pots, showing excellent resistance to the pollution that often dominates in cities. For its cultivation in pots, an advice to keep in mind is to avoid stagnation of water as much as possible and therefore not leave too much water in the saucer. However, it is important to water in moderation, because, in a prolonged state of dryness, the strawberry tree would only last a few days: it is therefore advisable to water every two or three weeks with 1-2 buckets of water and to establish a two-day break between watering. and the next.
As for fertilization, it is important to fertilize the plant periodically to ensure healthy and strong growth: the fertilizer to be used in this case is a universal fertilizer for ornamental plants. Feeding the strawberry tree with a high nitrogen and potassium fertilizer will help the vegetation and flowers to develop. Liquid and powder fertilizers, then, can be added to the water used for watering every 20-25 days to bring a galvanizing effect to the plant.
The pruning of the strawberry tree can take place when it is evident that its vegetation is becoming progressively more sparse, presenting terminal branches that are going to dry up. In this case, the action will have a rejuvenating effect for the plant, depriving it of the dry part. Furthermore, the foliage must be reduced in the period that coincides with the end of winter, when it becomes too dense.
The multiplication of the strawberry tree occurs by layering, by offshoot, but above all by seed and cutting. Reproduction by seed is still to be carried out at the end of winter, in a soil to be kept always humid in which sand and peat are mixed: in this case it is advisable to keep the soil containers in sheltered and bright places. As for the multiplication by cuttings, the propitious period is still winter and the grown arbutus seedlings are to be transplanted into the ground after two years.
The strawberry tree is a strong plant that fears few diseases: black aphids are among the few and most frequent parasites that can cause some damage to the plant.
Among the other species of strawberry tree, we should mention the arbutus andrachne, typical of Greece, which has wider leaves and an entire margin and also has smaller orange-colored fruits. Then there is the arbutus andrachnoides, a hybrid that arises in nature between the two species mentioned, which boasts a greater resistance to cold and a reddish bark. Finally, the arbutus menziesii, native to North America, where it is more widespread, with much larger dimensions. In fact, it can reach 30 meters in height, against the twelve of the other species and it also produces edible fruits like the strawberry tree.
Who has never heard of the expression "Arbezzoli!"?
The strawberry tree plant, in addition to having inspired legends and tales since ancient times, is known precisely as an ancient exclamation now considered archaic! The Tuscans, however, still use it to indicate wonder, amazement, disbelief as a substitute for a word referring to the male attribute and to sweeten the complete expression "don't break my corbelli!"
In the language of flowers, the meaning attributed to the plant is that of hospitality.
In ancient times, Greeks and Romans considered the strawberry tree plant to be a noxious shrub because if consumed, the berries of the strawberry tree caused headaches and stomach pains to the individual.
Strawberry Tree Honey
Strawberry Tree - Fruit and Blossoms
Strawberry Tree honey is not for everyone, but its strong bitter flavor is loved by gourmets and honey connoisseurs worldwide. Known in Sardinia as a Miele Amaro (Bitter Honey), this delicacy is produced from the unusual and beautiful evergreen shrub of the the Arbutus or Strawberry Tree (Arbutus Unedo), a member of the Ericaceae family. Largely seen as specimen trees in gardens and yards around the world, there are few stands of trees grand enough to support even a few hives. Fortunately it grows wild in coastal Mediterranean countries in sufficient numbers to produce honey. It takes its name from its edible fruit that looks like small, round strawberries. In late autumn, when this honey is harvested, the urn-shaped flowers of white, often tinged with pink, emerge and join the orange-scarlet rough fruit now ripening from flowers of the autumn 12 months earlier.
Strawberry Tree honey crystallizes irregularly, its firmness depending upon the moisture content. It is dark amber when young and light brown when crystallized. The scent is pungent while its flavor has aspects of green ivy, coffee dregs, leather, burnt, and bitter herbs. The taste is sweet initially but rapidly reveals its strong complex bitter flavor, gradually subsiding into an astringent finish with a mild, distinct aftertaste. It goes well with Ricotta, Mascarpone, and Robiola cheeses or in the typical Sardinian fashion, over Sardo Pecorino with Pan Carasau (flat bread) and fresh melon, or over ice cream or white chocolate mousse as a surprising contrasting flavor.
The late blossoming is often accompanied by cold weather which makes it difficult for the bees to collect nectar, undoubtedly making this special honey even more difficult to find.
Strawberry tree honey has many therapeutic properties and is popularly used as an diuretic, anti-asthmatic (for bronchial infections), urinary antiseptic and to improve blood circulation.
The fruit is edible when fully ripe although it is commonly thought to be mealy and lacking flavor. The ancient naturalist, Pliny The Elder wrote of it in his 15th book of the history of nature, “Surely the fruit is of base or no reckoning at all: no marveile therfore if the Latines gave it the name Unedo (meaning only one), for that one of them is enough to be eaten at once. "
Nevertheless, some find the fruit quite good if eaten at the peak of ripeness. The berries are said to be narcotic if eaten in quantity, but this is likely due to alcoholic fermentation within the skin. When mature, it has a high sugar content (15%) and produces excellent jellies and jams, and its high pectin content ensures rapid setting. The berries are also used to create a number of alcoholic beverages including wines and liqueurs. In Portugal a distilled spirit (a brandy) is made from the fruit of Arbutus unedo, called “Aguardente de Medronho” (sometimes, Medronho). Also "Liqueur a l'Arbouse" and 'Creme d’Arbouse' from Corsica, and 'Acquavita di Corbezzolo', 'Liquore di Corbezzolo', and 'Fior di Corbezzolo' from Sardinia.
The green of the leaves, red of the fruit and white of the blossoms represent the three colors of the Italian flag, and for this reason the Strawberry tree became a strong symbol of unity during the struggle for independence during the Italian Renaissance. The Strawberry tree, along with a she-bear, is portrayed in the heraldic symbol for the city of Madrid and is displayed on the flag of the city of Madrid.
Latin Name: Arbutus Unedo L. (other species include, Arbutus marina, Arbutus menziesii)
Translations: Italian: Strawberry Tree Honey, Sardinian Honey, Bitter Honey French: Miel d’Arbousier German: Erdbeerbaum Honig Greek: Μέλι κουμαριές Spanish: Miel madroño
It is known by many common names: amlin, pomin ross, albatross, sea cherry, hairy sorva and others depending on the region considered. It seems that its botanical name, Arbutus unedo, is due to the "sour taste" of the leaves and fruits in the Celtic language (Arbutus) and to Pliny the Elder who did not like its fruits and used to say "I eat only one" that is unum edo - unedo the Greeks called the fruits Komaros, the same name they used for strawberries and Ovid also refers to the Strawberry tree as "mountain strawberries" that the earth spontaneously gave to men to satisfy them.
The plant is present in the coat of arms of the city of Ancona and Madrid.
In the Risorgimento the Corbezzolo was associated with the tricolor for white flowers, green leaves and red fruits. The poet Giovanni Pascoli celebrated it with a poem.
In some areas of central Italy, it was traditional to go to the woods to eat this fruit during the feast that was celebrated on October 28th as in a sort of “bacchantes” rite.
In some places in rural Sardinia, the branches of the Corbezzolo are still used today to build "su pilìsu", the tool that is used to break the curd of milk.
In the peasant and popular tradition, the Strawberry Tree symbolized love and jealousy for the red external color and yellow pulp.
Its branches were placed on the doorstep as a welcome for guests.
- Strawberry leaves are rich in tannin (in the past they were used to tan leather) and a glycoside, arbutoside the decoction of leaves is diuretic, astringent and antiseptic.
- The fruits are antidiarrheal, but they also contain an alkaloid which can have negative effects on sensitive people.
Excessive use of preparations and fruits is not recommended, in high quantities they could be toxic.
Fruits of the Strawberry Tree
THE fruits, edible, which originate from small flowers and gathered in clusters have a spherical shape, wrinkled rind of red-orange color with a surface covered with granulations and sweet and fleshy pulp with many seeds.
In the autumn-early winter period, the strawberry tree bears both the fruits of the previous year and the new flowers.
THE fruits or berries of the strawberry tree they are used for the preparation of liqueurs and spirits.
Flowering of the Strawberry Tree
The Strawberry Tree blooms in the period October - November. It can also be purchased in a pot already in bloom and then transplanted into the ground at the end of flowering or in a larger container.
From the flowers of the arbutus bees get a very fine honey appreciated and known also abroad.
Belonging to the family of Araceae and originally fromCentral and South America, dieffenbachia is one of the evergreen plants that is most frequently found in our homes, also because, thanks to its many varieties, it can have different sizes and adapt to any need. The dieffenbachia presents very large oval-shaped leaves, the color of which may vary depending on the case. Some species have foliage dark green, while for others it is clearer with white streaks. Contrary to what one might think, this plant produces gods flowers, but these are inconspicuous: they always remain on the shades of green or of White and resemble in shape that of the calla.
Given its tropical origins, dieffenbachia prefers a warm environment and that's why apartment life suits her. Attention must be paid to the cold shots and do not expose the vase to air currents. Likewise, it is recommended to place it close to one light source but not direct Why the sun's rays they could burn it. Regarding watering, it is enough to keep the soil always wet but avoiding water stagnation.
PRANDINI’S GARDEN NURSERY CENTER does not neglect to serve everything that’s needed by the greenfingered amateur or the sector professionals. The production of hedge plants (LAURUS CERASUS, PHOTINIA RED ROBIN, multiplied cuttings and cultivated in pots so as to always be available during the year .. Pomegranate fruit and flowers, False Jasmine and the Strawberry tree are just some or the many varieties tha PRANDINI'S GARDEN NURSERY CENTER reproduce and cultivate.
There is no shortage seasonal flowers (Begonias, Geraniums, Petunias, etc) snd also plants for the vegetable garden available in pots or in clumpsof the company’s origins) This reminds us of the company’s origins.
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Considered by many as a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, strawberry tree honey is noted for its potent source of vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients with benefits superior to the highly praised manuka honey
Rare and hard to find, Nuraxi's Strawberry Tree Honey is sourced exclusively from wild honey bees around organic pastures in Sardinia ..
Delicate and floral, Sardinian honey is used and preferred over sugar the Sardinian people enjoy it drizzled over pecorino cheese or purely, shining on a slice of Nuraxi’s Crispy Pane Carasau.
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Organic & sour strawberry tree honey: Difficult to produce and in high demand
As a culinary ideal, raw and organic strawberry tree honey is savored for its unique taste and celebrated for its extraordinary benefits, which have been found to surpass those offered by manuka honey.
It is only now that local collectors are willing to share their rare and valuable harvest with a global market - through a quality driven brand. Nuraxi's raw Strawberry Tree Honey , is collected exclusively from wild bees near organic Arbutus Unedo and only available when naturally produced by local Sardinian honey bees.