The New International Encyclopædia/Arbutus

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ARBUTUS, är'bǜ-tŭs or är-bū'tŭs (Lat., the wild strawberry tree). A genus of plants of the order Ericaceæ. The species, which number about twenty, are mostly European and North American shrubs and small trees. In many species the leaves are evergreen and shining, the branches usually smooth and red. Such a species is Arbutus unedo, the Strawberry Tree, extensively planted as an ornament in parks. It is a native of the south of Europe, and is not hardy in the colder parts of the United States. It is highly valued in California. The flowers, which are white, are produced in great abundance; the fruit, which resembles a strawberry in size and color, is ripened the second year. In this way flowers and fruits occur together, and, with the bright green leaves, make the tree very attractive. The fruit is edible and often utilized, especially in Spain, where sugar and a spirit are manufactured from it. A second species, Arbutus Menziesii, is the madroña of California. It is fairly hardy, and as a tree often attains a height of eighty to one hundred feet. Arbutus Arizonica, a tree forty to fifty feet high, has the bark of the trunk white, of the branches red, which, together with the pale-green leaves, make a pleasing contrast. A few fossil forms have been described under the name Arbutites, from the Eocene of Europe.