Strawberry, the name of a plant and of the edible fruit it bears. The fragrant fruit, red when ripe, is popular for its delicious flavor in fresh, frozen, canned, and preserved forms. Strawberries are a nutritious fruit, containing substantial amounts of vitamin C. The so-called seeds, or achenes, are embedded in the outside of the flesh of the strawberry. Botanically these are the true fruits, a tiny seed being contained within the dry body of each achene. Strawberries are native to North and South America and Eurasia.
The strawberry plant is a perennial that usually does not grow more than one foot (30 cm) high. The plant has short roots and sends out long slender runners that creep along the ground and take root to form new plants. The leaves are divided into three leaflets, and the white or reddish flowers grow in clusters.
Different varieties of the strawberry plant have been developed to improve the size and flavor of the fruit, to improve the plant's bearing qualities and ability to resist pests or diseases, to adapt the plant to certain climates or soils, and to produce crops at various times of the year.Strawberry plants are small and produce nutritious, bright red fruit.
Strawberries are easily grown but do best in rich, moist, well-drained sandy loam. New plants are usually developed from rooted runners rather than from seeds. Sometimes strawberry plants and their runners are allowed to grow freely. Often, however, the runners are cut off to produce a larger, more productive parent plant.
New plants are placed in the ground so that the roots are uncrowded and the crowns (root-tops) are even with the ground. By preventing the first-year flowers from developing, the gardener can increase the plant's strength. Straw, pine needles, and other mulching material around the plants keep the soil moist and the berries clean. In northern climates, the plants are covered in winter.f
Since the plant's fruit production normally gets smaller each year, strawberry beds are usually not kept more than two years. Commercial growers usually plow under the bed after one crop has been harvested. In the United States, large crops are grown in the Mississippi Valley and on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts.
Strawberries make up the genus Fragaria of the rose family, Rosaceae. It is probable that most cultivated varieties were derived from the chiloe strawberry, F. chiloensis ; the European wild strawberry, F. vesca ; and the wild strawberry of the eastern United States, F. virginiana.