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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