Arbutus unedo Fr: Arbousier
This is an evergreen shrub or small tree, often around 3-5m tall, but can grow as high as 12m. The clusters of white flowers appear in the autumn, along with the bright orange or red berries that ripen from the previous year. In the many woods and forests between Draguignan and the Lac de St. Cassien, the strawberry tree thrives along with the laurel, cork oak, juniper and other plants of the maquis.
Dark red-brown; fissured, flaking, forming grey-brown ridges.
Flower. The white, bell-shaped, 8mm diameter flowers grow in hanging clusters.
Leaves. shiny dark green, paler beneath, lance-shaped, toothed edges; 5-10cm long, born on 5mm long hairy pinkish stalks.
Habitat. maquis, thicket and woods.
Fruit. 20mm thick,round berries; rough crinkly skin, yellow, orange to bright red; edible, a bit mushy, and they don't taste like strawberries.