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strawberry, any plant of the genus Fragaria of the family Rosaceae (rose family), low herbaceous perennials with edible red fruits, native to temperate and mountainous tropical regions. The European everbearing strawberry (F. vesca) is the only species that does not put out the stolons typical of this easily propagated genus. It has been cultivated sporadically since pre-Christian times but intensively only since the 15th cent. The common strawberry, grown in many varieties in both Europe and America, is Fragaria × Ananassa, the result of the hybridization of F. chiloensis, believed to be indigenous to Chile and to the mountains of W North America, with the wild strawberry (F. virginiana) of E North America. Both species were introduced to Europe by New World explorers; the large French industry grew from a single common strawberry plant. In the United States the many growing regions harvest their crops in different seasons, from winter (Florida) to late spring (chiefly Michigan, Oregon, and Washington). Strawberries are sold fresh, frozen, or in preserves and are used in confectionery and for flavoring. Strawberries are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.


See G. M. Darrow, The Strawberry (1966); S. Wilhelm and J. E. Sagen, A History of the Strawberry (1974).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a perennial herbaceous plant of the genus Fragaria, family Rosaceae. About 50 species are known (according to other data, 20–35) in Europe, Asia, and America. In the USSR there are six wild species: European strawberry (F. vesca), with bright red fruits; F. viridis, with aromatic greenish-red fruits; hautbois strawberry (F. moschata) andF. orientalis, which both have large red fruits;F. bucharica’, and F. campestris. The major cultivated strawberry is the pine strawberry (F. ananassa), and more rarely European strawberry, hautbois strawberry, Virginia strawberry (F. virginiana), and Chile strawberry (F. chiloensis). The pine strawberry is often incorrectly called common strawberry, which belongs to a different botanical species.

Pine strawberry is not found in wild form. Its first varieties appeared in the 18th century in the Netherlands; it is presumed that they originated as a result of natural hybridization of two American species that were imported to Europe— Virginia strawberry and Chile strawberry. This is confirmed by the resemblance of the characters of pine strawberry to those of Virginia and Chile strawberries and by the fact that all three species have the same number of chromosomes (2n-56). Pine strawberry is cultivated in various climatic zones of the earth; in the USSR pine strawberry is the most predominant berry crop. It is grown from the polar circle to the subtropics. The largest strawberry-growing areas are in the central region of the European USSR, Krasnodarsk Krai, and the Ukraine. There are more than 2,000 varieties of pine strawberry. Common in the central region are Krasavitsa Zagor’ia, Pozdniaia ii Zagor’ia, Komsomolka, and Festival’naia’, in southern European USSR, Chernobrivka, Ranniaia MosVIR, and Joseph Mahomet; in the Ukraine, Kievskaia ranniaia (two kinds), Korallovaia 100, and las net’, in Byelorussia, Minsk, Kolkhoz, and Aurora; in Middle Asia, Uzbekistan, Pamiaf Shredera, Tashkent, Geroinia Manshuk, and Seianets Tupolevoi’, and in Siberia, Altai Aborigine. In some regions of the USSR varieties bred domestically, such as Saksonka and Koralka, are grown, as well as foreign varieties— Roshchinskaia, Culver, Victor, and Muto.

Pine strawberry has a short branched stalk up to 10 cm tall, which forms the rhizome. The roots are filamentous and lie mainly at a depth of 20–25 cm. The leaf rosettes are formed in the apical growing points of the stalk (crowns). The leaves are ternate, and the inflorescence is a multifloral corymb. The petals are white or slightly yellowish, and there are numerous stamens and pistils. In most varieties the flowers are bisexual and are pollinated with their own pollen by insects. In the central region of the European USSR strawberry blossoming begins in the middle or at the end of May and continues until the beginning of maturation of the berries. The berry-like fruits of the strawberry, which are usually called berries, are formed on an expanded, fleshy receptacle, which is often colored, on the surface of which are located small true fruits (nutlets). The berries are usually red (various shades) and sometimes pink or white, with reddish, more rarely white, flesh. The first berries are the largest (in the large-fruit varieties 20–40 g, in the others 10–15 g). The berries are used in fresh, frozen, and processed (jam, fruit candy, juices, etc.) form. The chemical composition of fresh berries averages (in percentage per mass): water, 80–90; total sugar, 4.5–10; acids, 0.8–1.6; nitrogenous substances, 0.9–1.2; pectins, 1.0–1.7; tannins, 0.16–0.25; cellulose, 1.0–1.6; ash, 0.4–0.8; and vitamin C, 50–80 mg percent. The yield is 6–7 tons per hectare, but on some areas on the more advanced farms it is 10–13 tons per hectare (Lenin Sovkhoz in Moscow Oblast).

Pine strawberry is not a frost-resistant plant. In the central, northern, and eastern regions of the European USSR it winters well only under snow; lowering of the temperature to -15°C without a snow covering destroys the plants. The buds, flowers, and young ovaries are sensitive to freezing. Strawberries are also not drought-resistant. The best kind of ground for growing pine strawberries is on slopes (up to 5° inclination) with depressions or “saucers”; this ensures the escape of cold air and excess moisture in the spring. Around these parcels of ground or on the side with the prevailing winds, field-protecting forest strips are created to prevent blowoff of snow in the winter and drying of soil in the summer.

Strawberries are not particular about soil; they can be grown on all soils suitable for agricultural crops. The best soils are light loams rich in organic matter. Soils with elevated acidity (pH lower than 5) are limed one or two years before the setting of plants. Strawberries are propagated from seedlings—young plants (rosettes of leaves and the beginnings of roots) formed in the nodes of stolons (horizontal shoots that spread along the ground). They are propagated from seeds only in breeding work. Strawberries are raised in special strawberry crop rotations. The best predecessors are annual and perennial grasses, green manures, and pasture crops. Strawberries are planted on a level surface, and in damp places they are planted in beds. On large farms the matted row method of planting (15–20 x 80–90 cm) is common, with subsequent widening and thickening of the rows because of the rooting of rosettes. In small gardens strawberries are grown in hedge form, by the setting out of plants in one, two, or three rows and the subsequent removal of all the stolons. The plants are set out in autumn or spring; in the central region of the European USSR in August or before the middle of September, and in the south in October and November. Outside the USSR seedlings for spring planting are prepared by the end of autumn and kept in refrigerators. The seedlings are set out manually in turned-over soil or in the top layer of furrows that are cut with a cultivator or special machines. The plants are watered abundantly. An economic yield is usually obtained a year after planting. In the USSR strawberry plantations are used for four to five years (three to four harvests), and then they are plowed under. In some countries outside the USSR they are limited to one or two harvests. The care of strawberry plantings consists of cultivating the soil, removing weeds (in rows with hand hoes, between rows with cultivators), removing stolons periodically, irrigating during prolonged dry weather, applying fertilizers, and controlling pests and diseases.

The principal pests of pine strawberries are the raspberry and strawberry weevil, the strawberry nematode, and the strawberry mite; diseases of strawberries are gray rot of berries, powdery mildew, and white and brown leaf blights.


Agrotekhnika, selektsiia, sortoispytanie plodovo-iagodnykh kul’tur. Moscow, 1960.
Filosofova, T. P. Zemlianika. Moscow, 1962.
Shoemaker, J. S. Kul’tura iagodnykh rastenii i vinograda. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from English.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A low-growing perennial of the genus Fragaria, order Rosales, that spreads by stolons; the juicy, usually red, edible fruit consists of a fleshy receptacle with numerous seeds in pits or nearly superficial on the receptacle.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


symbolizes esteem. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 177]
See: Dignity
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a. any of various low-growing rosaceous plants of the genus Fragaria, such as F. vesca (wild strawberry) and F. ananassa (garden strawberry), which have white flowers and red edible fruits and spread by runners
b. (as modifier): #5a strawberry patch
2. barren strawberry a related Eurasian plant, Potentilla sterilis, that does not produce edible fruit
3. a purplish-red colour
4. another name for strawberry mark
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Strawberry belongs to the family Rosaceae, genus Fragaria, and is among the most widely consumed fruits throughout the world.