member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family, the botanical
name of strawberries is Frugaria, which in
Latin means 'fragrance.' Origins of the common name
include the reference to 'straw' used in mulching
the plants. Children in London collected the berries,
strung them on pieces of straw and sold them in the
markets as "Straws of Berries." The French,
Italian, and Spanish word for the fruit is "Fraise"
or fragrant berry. Narragansett Indians in North America
called the fruit "wuttahimneash" or "heart
from all over the world claim their strawberries to
be the best. In Wepion, Belgium, "The World Capital
of Strawberries," they even have a museum dedicated
solely to this sumptuous red berry. Folks in Plant
City, Florida claim their town to be "The Winter
Strawberry Capital of the World." Towns such
as Strawberry, Arizona and Strawberry, California
chose their namesake for some berry compelling reason.
Strawberry Mountain is found in Oregon and Mansikkala,
Finland, literally translated means "The Place
of the Strawberry."
of the earliest accounts of strawberries came from
ancient Rome circa 200 BC. The first sketch of a strawberry
plant was printed in 1484. Early publications spoke
of medicinal uses for strawberries, not as edible
fruit. In the 12th Century Saint Hildegard von Binger
pronounced strawberries unfit to eat because they
may have been contaminated by snakes and toads due
to the fact that they were grown so close to the ground.
In the mid 18th century, Charles Linnaeus, a Swedish
botanist, put this superstition to rest by switiching
to a diet consisting only of strawberries to prove
was the French who led the way in strawberry cultivation.
Cartier, the French explorer, brought strawberries
back to France from Quebec in 1534.In
1697 Jean de la Quintinie, the royal gardener at the
Palace of Versailles under King Louis XIV, kept the
first detailed account of how to develop larger berries,
how to prepare the soil and deal with insects. The
French King chose strawberries as his favorite fruit
and even initiated a poetry contest on the merits
of the strawberry.
the 18th Century one of the first breeding crosses
were made to improve the strawberry. A Virginia variety
with good flavor and fruitfulness was crossed with
a Chilean variety and became known as the Pineapple
or Pine strawberry due to its distinctive flavor.
"Hudson" was the first strawberry hybrid
developed in the USA in 1780. And in 1843 Cinncinatti
Ohio growers were the first to ship strawberries using
refrigeration, in the form of ice placed on top of
the boxes. This development led to increase marketing
areas and yet more increase in popularity.
are native to both the northern and southern hemispheres.
are grown in every state in the US, every province
in Canada, all over Europe, Australia and even in
can grow by the sea, in the woods, and on mountain
strawberries are planted outdoors, but in the colder
regions of the world, heated glass houses provide
a safe growing environment. Commercially grown strawberries,
shipped from far locations, although visually stunning,
originate from varieties bred for shipping and a longer
shelf-life. These varieties tend to have half the
sugar content of a traditional June bearer which makes
a compelling reason to grow your own. For more on
growing strawberries visit our Strawberry
Planting and Culturing Guide.