ar·​bu·​tus är-ˈbyü-təs How to pronounce arbutus (audio)
: any of a genus (Arbutus) of shrubs and trees of the heath family with white or pink flowers and red or orange berries
: a creeping plant (Epigaea repens) of the heath family that occurs in eastern North America and bears fragrant pink or white flowers in early spring

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Those ramps from Ninth Avenue pass between massive concrete planters that each hold bunch grasses and a quartet of already large arbutus trees. John King,, 18 Nov. 2020 Common woods used included arbutus, bog oak and yew. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, 12 Mar. 2020 As hummingbirds dart among arbutus trees, the gardenias and carissa flowering beneath a jacaranda scent the air near the door. Emily Young, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2019 Where the rocks had spalled, the ledges were covered in moss and spiked with twisted red arbutus trees. New York Times, 26 Jan. 2018 The flowers include red trillium, trailing arbutus and pink moccasin flower. Grant Segall,, 14 May 2017 Keeping neighborhood covenants about tree height in mind, Crooks brought in mature trees like katsura, maples and arbutus for screening, planting dark-leafed smoke bushes for contrast. Valerie Easton, The Seattle Times, 14 June 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arbutus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


New Latin, from Latin, strawberry tree

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of arbutus was in 1548

Dictionary Entries Near arbutus

Cite this Entry

“Arbutus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


ar·​bu·​tus är-ˈbyüt-əs How to pronounce arbutus (audio)

Medical Definition


Ar·​bu·​tus är-ˈbyüt-əs How to pronounce Arbutus (audio)
: a genus of shrubs and trees of the heath family (Ericaceae) having white or pink flowers and scarlet berries and including some from which arbutin is obtained

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