Our tree this week is a bit of a show-off, being laden with both flowers and fruit in December. The photos are from Nightjar and they were taken on December 2 of this year. I double checked that date because I could hardly believe it.
This is a strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo, no relationship to strawberries except for whatever was on the mind of the person who came up with the english common name), bearing flowers and fruits at the same time as is to be expected from a tree that blooms once a year and whose fruits take around 12 months to mature. Native to the Mediterranean region, the flowers feed the bees (the resulting honey has a unique taste) and the fruits feed the birds. I like to eat the fruits fresh, although only a handful at a time because they can become cloying fast. They also bruise very easily, so there is no point in picking more than what one can eat in that moment… unless the goal is to make the traditional fruit brandy or jam, but I like neither of those things. Anyway, I think the tree is very pretty and it seems to be relatively unknown outside of its native range, so I thought I would share it!
Thanks, Nightjar. A tree in bloom at this time of year is a rare treat. The fruit even looks a bit like Christmas balls.