The strawberry tree is a shrub or a small tree, usually up to 5 metres in height, with evergreen leaves, flowering that occurs from October to February and bearing fruit in late autumn.It grows in thickets, in fields of cork and holm oak and also in rocky regions, preferring mild climates without frosts.
In Portugal, the strawberry tree is cultivated both as a fruit tree and an ornamental tree, and it can be found throughout the country.
The fruits - round and fleshy berries with one or more seeds - becoming crimson when mature, can be picked between November and December.
The strawberry tree fruits are known for their ability to cause mild intoxication and headaches to those who consume them in excess, because when they are ripe they have a certain amount of alcohol.
With regard to its medicinal use, it is recognized for its astringent and diuretic properties, as well as being antiseptic to the urinary tract.
The leaves, that can be used in tea to lower blood pressure, and the bark are rich in tannins and were used for tanning leather in times gone by. The wood is valued for making charcoal. The berry's economic value lies in the production of an excellent quality firewater - the "aguardente de medronho".