Arbutus unedo

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaEricaceaeArbutusArbutus unedo


A small tree found as a native in heathy scrub and open woodland on rocky slopes and lake shores, on limestone, conglomerate, slates and sandstones; typically on very shallow soil, or rooted into rock. It also occurs as an escape from cultivation, and has become invasive at the Great Orme (Caerns.) and possibly elsewhere. Reproduction is by seed. Lowland.



World Distribution

Mediterranean-Atlantic element.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 4.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.4

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1335

Life form information

Height (cm): 500

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Mega-, meso- and microphanerophyte



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 0

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 8

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: 1.18

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (193c)
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Sealy JR, Webb DA
1950.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 30. Arbutus L., Arbutus unedo L. Journal of Ecology. 38:223-236.