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Fragaria vesca

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Fragaria vesca, commonly called wild strawberry, woodland strawberry, Alpine strawberry, Carpathian Strawberry, European strawberry, or fraisier des bois, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the rose family that grows naturally throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, and that produces edible fruits.<ref name="Sullivan2015">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="PLANTS">Template:PLANTS</ref>


Five to eleven soft, hairy white flowers are borne on a green, soft-hairy Template:Convert stalk that usually lifts them above the leaves. The light-green leaves are trifoliate (in threes) with toothed margins. The plant spreads by means of runners (stolons).<ref name="Klinkenberg2014">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="WTU Herbarium2015">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Jepson">Template:Cite web</ref>


Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885) makes a distinction between wild or wood strawberries (Fragaria vesca) and alpine strawberries (Fragaria alpina),<ref name=Vilmorin1885>Template:Cite book</ref> a distinction which is not made by most seed companies or nurseries, which usually sell Fragaria vesca as "alpine strawberry".

Under wild or wood strawberry, Vilmorin says:


Under alpine strawberry, Vilmorin says:



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  • Fragaria vesca ssp. americana (Porter) Staudt
  • Fragaria vesca ssp. bracteata (Heller) Staudt
  • Fragaria vesca ssp. vesca L.
  • Fragaria vesca ssp. semperflorens L.


Wild strawberry collected in the forest in the Middle Urals
Fragaria vesca, fruiting plant
Wild strawberry in Estonia, Pakri Peninsula.

Typical habitat is along trails and roadsides, embankments, hillsides, stone- and gravel-laid paths and roads, meadows, young woodlands, sparse forest, woodland edges, and clearings. Often plants can be found where they do not get sufficient light to form fruit. In the southern part of its range, it can only grow in shady areas; further north it tolerates more sun.<ref name=fire/> It is tolerant of a variety of moisture levels (except very wet or dry conditions).<ref name=fire/> It can survive mild fires and/or establish itself after fires.<ref name=fire/>

Although F. vesca primarily propagates via runners, viable seeds are also found in soil seed banks and seem to germinate when the soil is disturbed (away from existing populations of F. vesca).<ref name=fire>Template:FEIS</ref>

Its leaves serve as significant food source for a variety of ungulates, such as mule deer and elk, and the fruit are eaten by a variety of mammals and birds that also help to distribute the seeds in their droppings.<ref name=fire/>


The alpine strawberry is used as an indicator plant for diseases that affect the garden strawberry. It is also used as a genetic model plant for garden strawberry and the family Rosaceae in general, due to its:

  • very small genome size
  • short reproductive cycle (14–15 weeks in climate-controlled greenhouses)
  • ease of propagation.

The genome of Fragaria vesca was sequenced in 2010.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>


All strawberry (Fragaria) species have a base haploid count of seven chromosomes; Fragaria vesca is diploid, having two pairs of these chromosomes for a total of 14.

Flower close-up
Leaf close-up
Fruit close-up

History, cultivation and uses

Evidence from archaeological excavations suggests that Fragaria vesca has been consumed by humans since the Stone Age.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The woodland strawberry was first cultivated in ancient Persia where farmers knew the fruit as toot farangi.Template:Dubious Its seeds were later taken along the Silk Road towards the far East and to Europe where it was widely cultivated until the 18th century, when it began to be replaced by the garden strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) which has much larger fruit and showed greater variation, making them better suited for further breeding.

Woodland strawberry fruit is strongly flavored, and is still collected and grown for domestic use and on a small scale commercially for the use of gourmets and as an ingredient for commercial jam, sauces, liqueurs, cosmetics and alternative medicine.

In Turkey, hundreds of tons of wild fruit are harvested annually, mainly for export.<ref>Template:Citation</ref> The Ottoman strawberry (also known as the Arnavutköy variety)<ref name=TCF>Template:Cite web</ref> was once cultivated in large quantities in the Arnavutköy neighbourhood of Istanbul. It is also grown extensively near the town of Karadeniz Ereğli in Zonguldak province, Turkey. A festival to celebrate the Ottoman strawberry is held at Karadeniz Ereğli in June each year.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Most of the cultivated varieties have a long flowering period (and have been considered by botanists as belonging to Fragaria vesca var. vesca ssp. semperflorens). They are usually called alpine strawberries. They either form runners or multiple crowns in a cluster, fruit over a very long period with larger fruit than the common wood strawberry, and are usually propagated by seeds or division of the plants. The type in cultivation is usually everbearing and produces few runners. Plants tend to lose vigour after a few years due to their abundant fruiting and flowering with final decline caused by viral diseases.<ref>Template:PFAF</ref> Large-fruiting forms are known since the 18th century and were called "Fressant" in France.<ref>Template:Citation</ref> Some cultivars have fruit that are white or yellow when fully ripe, instead of the normal red.

Cultivars that form stolons are often used as groundcover, while cultivars that do not may be used as border plants. Some cultivars are bred for their ornamental value. Hybrids, Fragaria × vescana, have been created from crosses between woodland strawberry and garden strawberry. Hybrids between the woodland strawberry and the European species Fragaria viridis were in cultivation until around 1850, but are now lost.<ref>Template:Citation</ref>

Alpine strawberry has an undeserved reputation among home gardeners as hard to grow from seed, often with rumors of long and sporadic germination times, cold pre-chilling requirements, etc.Template:Citation needed In reality, with proper handling of the very small seeds (which can easily be washed away with rough watering), 80% germination rates at 70 °F within 1–2 weeks are easily achievable.Template:Citation needed

Alpine strawberries are sometimes included as edging plants in herbaceous borders.<ref>http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/12777.shtml</ref>

Garden varieties currently in cultivation

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  • Rügen, the first modern cultivar, i.e., runnerless, everbearing and large fruited — originating from Castle Putbus in Germany, first offered 1920 by the strawberry grower Emil Spangenberg from Morsleben.
  • Alexandria, first offered 1964 by George W. Park Seed Co., USA
  • Baron Solemacher, first offered 1935 by F. C. Heinemann, Germany
  • Weisse Solemacher (white fruited) first offered by F. C. Heinemann
  • Golden Alexandria (golden foliage).

Forms with runners are still found in old gardens.

  • Template:Lang, France; commercially important before World War I, but now almost extinct; maybe identical to the variety Erigée de Poitou which was still offered around 1960.
  • Blanc Amélioré, Great Britain; white-fruited; it is doubtful if the clone in circulation today is identical to the historical variety from around 1900 because of its non-everbearing habit; nevertheless a good variety with rather large, sometimes monstruous fruit of the Fressant type.
  • Illa Martin, Germany; sold as an ornamental, white-fruited. Red achenes have been reported but have not been found. Most plants in circulation not true to name.
  • Gartenfreude, Germany; large-fruited form, sometimes very large monstrous fruit of the Fressant type.

Curious mutations have arisen and are sometimes grown by plantsmen and other connoisseurs of the unusual:

  • Monophylla (“Strawberry of Versailles”; has one large leaflet instead of the normal three leaflets)<ref>Chest of Books: William Curtis, The Botanical Magazine, or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Vol. 1</ref> - Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885) stated as being raised by Duchesne.<ref name=Vilmorin1885/>
  • Multiplex (double flowered; sets less and smaller fruit)
  • Muricata (“Plymouth strawberry”; the flowers are composed of numerous small, leafy bracts; the fruit are similarly spiky).


F. vesca contains the ellagitannin agrimoniin which is an isomer of sanguiin H-6.<ref>Template:Citation</ref>

See also



External links

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