The generic name arbutus comes from an old Celtic word meaning rough or rugged, referring to its fruit. Characteristic of the Mediterranean region, the strawberry tree is a plant that nevertheless prefers a cooler and wetter climate than the one of Seville, where it is not typically cultivated. It is the heraldic shield plant of a city that complies with its ideal climate, the Villa de Madrid.
This is a species that was already cultivated in medieval Muslim Spain. At that time, and in the way of the agricultural treatises of the ancient Romans that were known, the Andalusian culture produced interesting manuals of agriculture and gardening. One of them, perhaps the most complete, was the work of Ibn al-Awam from Seville, known as the Book of the Nabatean agriculture. Ibn al-'Awwam recommended here, in a functional way in relation to water use, planting the strawberry tree along with other evergreen trees and shrubs “in the vicinity of the doors and ponds or tanks'.
Ibn al-'Awwam was an agronomist who lived in the Almohad period between the late 12th century and early 13th century, in the Aljarafe of Seville. There he had an orchard where he experimented the knowledge that he put in writing in his manual afterwards, it is considered the most important agricultural work of the Middle Ages. It is also an example of the extensive botanical knowledge that characterized the region of medieval Spain known as al-Andalus.