Fragaria vesca, commonly known as Woodland Strawberry occurs naturally throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Common names for this species include the Wild Strawberry, European Strawberry and Alpine Strawberry, the latter usually in reference to the cultivated varieties of the subspecies Fragaria vesca 'Semperflorens'.
Like all strawberries, it is in the family Rosaceae; its fruit is more technically known as an accessory fruit, in that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant's ovaries (achenes) but from the peg at the bottom of the bowl-shaped hypanthium that holds the ovaries.
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. Spread fast by runners and can form dense mats. The fruit are eaten and the achenes in this way spread by numerous mammals and birds.
The Woodland Strawberry was widely cultivated in Europe before being largely replaced by the Garden Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa), which have much larger fruit and showed greater variaton, 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 as a gourmet offering and as an ingredient for commercial jam, sauces, liqueurs, cosmetics and alternative medecine. In Turkey several 100 tons of wild fruit are harvested annually, mainly for export.
Most of the cultivated varieties are by botanists usually set to the subspecie Fragaria vesca 'Semperflorens' and they are usually called Alpine Strawberries. They have in common that they rarely form runners instead they form multiple crowns in a cluster, fruits over a very long timeperiod and are usually propagated by seeds or division of the plants. Some cultivars have fruit that are white, or yellow when fully ripe, in addition to the normal red. Plants tend to lose vigour after a few years. 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.
Used as an indicator plant for diseases that affect the garden strawberry.
Used as a genetic model plant for garden strawberry and the Rosaceae familiy in general, due to
- It`s very small genome size
- Short reproductive cycle, 14–15 weeks in clima controlled greenhouses.
- Being easily propagated
F. 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 diarrhea.
Pests and Diseases
- Chronica Horticulturae Vol.47 Number 2
|Wikiversity is collecting bloom time data for Fragaria vesca on the Bloom Clock|