Strawberry-Tree, or Arbutus, L. a genus of shrubs, consisting of nine species, three of which are indigenous : namely,
1. The Uncdo, or Common Strawberry-tree, which grows on barren lime-stone rocks, particularly in the western parts of Ireland, where it flowers in September. This species is a principal ornament of our shrubberies, on account of its beautiful foliage, and its fine yellow flowers in autumn, which produce berries in the succeeding year, so that blossoms and fruit appear at the same time : the latter, however, is not grateful to the taste, even though mellowed by frost. Nevertheless, it is eaten by the lower classes of people, who are accustomed to drink water, after partaking of such repast. The Common Strawberry-tree may be propagated by cuttings, by layers, or by seed. These should be set early in March, in pots of light rich earth, and afterwards put in a hotbed : in the course of five or six weeks, they will strike firm root in the mould, when they ought to be gradually inured to the air. During frosty weather, it will be advisable to shelter them, and occasionally to expose them to the open air, in mild weather. After two or three years, the young plants may be removed to the place of their destination : for they will have become so hardy as to resist the severest winters, in any soil or situation.
2. The Alpina, Mountain Strawberry-tree, or Black-berried Alpine Arbutus, thrives on dry mountains in Scotland, and the Western Isles, where its flowers appear in May, and are succeeded by round, black berries. This species is refused by goats; its fruit possesses a flavour slightly resembling that of black currants ; to which, however, it is greatly inferior. Its branches and evergreen leaves have been advantageously employed in tanning.
3. The Uva ursi, Bear-berries, Bear Whortle-beRrie.;, or Bear-berry Strawberry-tree, grows on dry heaths, and woods, chiefly in the Highlands of Scotland ; and flowers in the month of May or June. This plant is refused by horses, cows, goats, and sheep. Its leaves have an astringent bitterish taste, and are generally used in Sweden, and Russia, for tanning leather ; and, in combination with iron or its preparations, for striking a black colour. When dried and pulverized, they have been advantageously given in doses of from a scruple to a dram, repeated two or three times every day, in calculous and nephritic complaints.
The berries of both the last-mentioned species of the Strawberry-tree, have been recommended by LinnAeus, as useful substi-tutes for grain, in the process of making bread: on account of their bitter taste, however, they ought to be bruised, macerated in different cold waters, and then baked or dried in an oven, before they are fit to be mixed with any other flour. But, even in this improved state, we conceive, they would reward the trouble of the housewife, only in times of great scarcity.