Fragaria x ananassa
Plant for homegrown summer softness, for green and red carpet, and for the occasional milkshake!
Hardy from Zones 3-9. They stay low to the ground and run around!
We like having a carpet of Strawberry underneath fruit trees and berry bushes. But not too close to nitrogen-fixing plants, because apparently Strawberry inhibits rhizobia! The flowers attract butterflies and bees and the sweet succulent fruit attracts us in the summer. Most of them don’t make it past fresh eating, but we enjoy jam, pie (especially with Rhubarb), and the classic combo with cream, supposedly first introduced in the court of King Henry VIII.
The cultivated Strawberry is a cross between a Fragaria from Virginia, where indigenous tribes used the leaf to treat diarrhea, and a Fragaria from Chile, where the Mapuche and Huilliche tended the plant. A French spy took the plant back to Europe in the 1700s, but only five plants survived the oceanic journey. And none of them produced fruit, at least not until they were pollinated by other plants, which is when Europeans figured out that some plants produce only so-called male and so-called female flowers. Wild woodland Strawberries were popular before the hemispheric cross-pollination. European monks decorated their manuscripts with images of Wild Strawberry in the 15th century. The Garden Strawberry became popular in the region of Brittany before spreading around the world. Now, China produces half of the world’s Strawberries.
The berry (which isn’t actually a berry but an irrelevant fact if you just want to plant and eat it) packs a lot of Vitamin C, especially when harvested on a sunny day, and a decent bit of A and K. It’s also high in fiber, antioxidants, manganese, and potassium, and contains cancer-fighting ellagic acid. Some research indicates that Strawberry might reduce cell absorption of HIV, blood clotting, and hemorrhages, and it’s good for teeth and for mouth ulcers. It certainly feels cooling and softening!
We propagate our Strawberries from runners in our gardens.