This species is commonly known as the Strawberry Tree after its small fruitlets, which resemble alpine strawberries in appearance. The flavour is not strawberry-like though, it is quite bland, but with a hint of tropical fruit flavours. The fruitlets should be left to ripen on the tree, and are ready when they fall to the ground.
Arbutus are mainly grown for their ornamental appeal. They are small spreading evergreen trees, with large dark green leaves (rather like laurel leaves) and attractive peeling bark.
Unlike most temperate fruit trees, where the blossom appears in spring and the fruits develop over the summer and autumn, the Strawberry Tree produces its flowers in autumn, with the fruits quickly following in late autumn. The flowers are white and hang in panicules, and are an abundant source of nectar at a time when there are few alternatives for bees.
Honey made from this species is particularly prized, it has a clear brown colour and a pleasant slightly bitter flavour.