The magazine for the modern naturalist About Contact Back issues Shop Help Subscribe

"British Wildlife is the pulsating heart of the UK nature conservation movement"

Matthew Oates, National Trust

"The most important and informative publication on wildlife of our times"

Michael McCarthy, The Independent

"Packed with readable, thoughtful, up to date articles; written by ecologists and naturalists for ecologists and naturalists"

Nick Baker, Presenter and Naturalist

From issue:   Issue:   British Wildlife 34.2 November 2022

The Strawberry Tree and how it may have reached Ireland

By - Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, Nick Scott

The Strawberry Tree is an unusual tree; it flowers and fruits at the same time during the winter, it prefers to grow on rocky outcrops and is sensitive to frost, and so, although this tree was long considered a native species, its distribution in Ireland seems unusual, too. With the support of genetic studies and historical records, Nick Scott and Micheline Sheehy Skeffington explore the history of the Strawberry Tree to speculate how this species may have reached Ireland. 

The Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo must be the most unusual tree or shrub considered native to Britain or Ireland. John Parkinson, who, in his herbal of 1640, first announced that ‘it hath been of late days found in the West part of Ireland, of reasonable bigge size for a tree’, also described how ‘it flowreth not only in Iuly… but at other times of the yeare also, and the fruite scarse ripeneth in a whole yeare, for I have seen a fresh branch, that was brought me with fresh sprung flowers and ripe fruite thereon likewise, for that it is usually seen with flowers and fruite at once.’ No other native woody species does this.

Buy this issue Subscribe now

"British Wildlife is the pulsating heart of the UK nature conservation movement."

Matthew Oates, National Trust

"The most important and informative publication on wildlife of our times"

Michael McCarthy, The Independent

"Packed with readable, thoughtful, up to date articles; written by ecologists and naturalists for ecologists and naturalists"

Nick Baker, Presenter and Naturalist