Fragaria is the Latin name used in science for the genus of about 20 species of strawberries, plants in the rose family that grow small sweet red fruit. The most well-known and most grown of these species is the strawberry Fragaria × ananassa. The other species are informally known as the wild strawberries.
|Fragaria vesca illustration from Atlas des plantes de France 1891, by A. Masclef|
20+ species; see text
People have eaten different kinds of wild strawberries for thousands of years. In Europe, people usually grew the woodland strawberry. Dutch people learned how to eat them through most of the year by planting their seeds at different times, letting them harvest for 9 months out of 12. The Alpine strawberry became popular around the 1650s because it was a little bigger and could grow in places with less strong sunlight, like the British islands in the late fall. Today's bigger "garden" strawberry was first made around Brest in Brittany (northwest France) in the 1750s. It was made by joining the Virginia strawberry from eastern North America to the European Hautbois and the Chilean strawberry from western South America.
The real fruit of the strawberries are the achenes, which people usually think of as the little seeds around the outside of the larger red "fruit". What people think is the "fruit" is really the swollen stems between these fruit. This kind of fruit, where different ovaries grow into a single larger fruit, is called an "aggregate fruit".
- "Fragaria". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2009-02-17.
- Welsh, Martin (2006), "Strawberries", Official website, Aylesford: National Vegetable Society.
- "achenes". Inhs.uiuc.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
- "Aggretage Fruits". Inhs.uiuc.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
- "The Strawberry: A Multiple Fruit". Carnegiemuseums.org. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
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