This tree actually belongs to the heather family, as you might tell by the bell-shaped flowers. It's a remnant of the Laurissilva, the old kind of Forest that existed in Europe before the Glacial Ages.
There's many known insect associations with these tree, namely some butterflies that have larvae eating the leaves of this tree.
The Portuguese people make a very strong fruit brandy called "àguardente de Medronho": The Medronho firewater.
|The white bell-shaped flowers of Arbutus unedo|