Woodland Strawberry Plant Information
Woodland Strawberry grows in the following 39 states:Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Oregon, West Virginia, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington
Fragaria vesca, commonly called wild strawberry, woodland strawberry, Alpine strawberry, European strawberry, or fraise 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.
Five to eleven soft-hairy white flowers are borne on a green, soft-hairy 3-15 centimetres (1.2-5.9in) 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).
Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885) makes a distinction between Wild or Wood Strawberries (Fragaria vesca) and Alpine Strawberries (Fragaria alpina), 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" he says:
Under "Alpine Strawberry" he says:
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. In reality, with proper handling of the very small seeds (which can easily be washed away with rough watering), 80% germination rates at 70F within 1-2 weeks are easily achievable.
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. It is tolerant of a variety of moisture levels (except very wet or dry conditions). It can survive mild fires and/or establish itself after fires.
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).
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.
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 Rosaceae family in general, due to its:
The genome of Fragaria vesca was sequenced in 2010.
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.
Evidence from archaeological excavations suggests that Fragaria vesca has been consumed by humans since the Stone Age. The woodland strawberry was first cultivated in ancient Persia where farmers knew the fruit as Toot Farangi. 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. The Ottoman strawberry was once cultivated in large quantities in the Arnavutky neighbourhood of Istanbul, and the strawberry is also known as the Arnavutky variety. It is also grown extensively near the town of Karadeniz Ereli in Zonguldak province, Turkey. A festival to celebrate the Ottoman strawberry is held at Karadeniz Ereli in June each year.
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. Large-fruiting forms are known since the 18th century and were called "Fressant" in France. Some cultivars have fruit that are white or yellow when fully ripe, instead of the normal red.
Plants tend to lose vigour after a few years due to their abundant fruiting and flowering with final decline caused by viral diseases. 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.
Fragaria vesca is sometimes used as an herbal medicine; an herbal tea made from the leaves, stems, and flowers is believed to aid in the treatment of diarrhoea.
Forms with runners are still found in old gardens.
Curious mutations have arisen and are sometimes grown by plantsmen and other connoisseurs of the unusual:
F. vesca contains the ellagitannin agrimoniin which is an isomer of sanguiin H-6.
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