Fragaria. Rosaceae. STRAWBERRY.
The Latin word for the strawberry, Fraga, has given name to the
botanical genus Fragaria, which includes our edible species. Ruellius,
1536, says the French word fresas was applied to the fruit on account
of the excellent sweetness of its odor, odore suavissimum, and taste; in
1554, this was spelled frayses by Amatus Lusitanicus, but the modern
word fraise appeared in the form fraises, in Fuchsius, 1542, and
Estienne, 1545. The Italian fraghe and fragole, as used by Matthiolus,
1571, and fragola as used by Zvingerus, 1696, and the modern
Italians, appear to have come directly from the Latin; while the Spanish
fresa and fresera must have had the same immediate origin as the
French. Some of the ancient commentators and botanists seem to have
derived the Latin name from fragrans, sweet-smelling, for Turner in his
Libellus, 1538, says "fragum non fragrum (ut quidam scioli scribunt),"
and Amatus Lusitanicus, 1554, writes fragra. The latter quotes
Servius, a grammarian of the fifteenth century, as calling the fruit
terrestria mora,- earth mulberry,-(or, following Dorstenius who
wrote in 1540, "fructus terrae et mora terrestria)," whence the Spanish
and Portuguese murangaos, (the modern Portuguese moranguoiro).
The manner of the fruit-bearing, near the ground, seems to have been
the character of the plant more generally observed, however, than that
of the fruit, for we have Virgil's verse, "humi nascentia fraga," child of
the soil, and Pliny's epithet, "terrestribus fragis," ground strawberry, as
distinguishing from the Arbutus unedo Linn. or strawberry tree, as also
the modern vernacular appellations, such as the Belgian eertbesien,
Danish jordbeer, German erdbeere, Netherland aerdbesie, while even
the English strawberry, the Anglo-Saxon streowberie, spelled in
modern fashion by Turner in 1538, is said to have been derived from
the spreading nature of the runners of the plant, and to have come
originally from the observed strewed, anciently strawed, condition of
the stems, and reading as if written strawedberry plant. It was called
straeberry by Lidgate in the fifteenth century.
The classical history of the strawberry can be written very shortly. Virgil
refers to the "humi nascentia fraga" in his third Eclogue; Ovid to the
arbuteos fructus mon-tanaque fraga in his Metamorphoses, book I,
V. 104, as furnishing a food of the golden age and again in the 13th
book, "mollia fraga;" and Pliny mentions the plant by name in his lib.
xxi, c. 50, and separates the ground strawberry from the arbutus tree
in his lib. xv, c. 28. The fruit is not mentioned in the cook-book
ascribed to Apicius Coelius, an author supposed to have lived about A.
D. 230. The Greeks seem to have had no knowledge of the plant or fruit;
at least there is no word in their writings which commentators have
agreed in interpreting as applying to the strawberry. Nicolaus
Myripsicus, an author of the tenth century, uses the word phragouli,
and Forskal, in the eighteenth century, found the word phraouli in use
for the strawberry by the Greeks about Belgrade. Fraas gives the latter
word for the modern Greek, and Sibthorp the word kovkoumaria, which
resembles the ancient Greek komaros or komaron, applied to the
arbutus tree, whose fruit has a superficial resemblance to the
Neither the strawberry nor its cultivation is mentioned by Ibnal-awam,
an author of the tenth century, unusually full and complete in his
treatment of garden, orchard, and field products, nor by Albertus
Magnus, who died A. D. 1280. It is not mentioned in The Forme of
Cury, a roll of ancient English cookery compiled about A. D. 1390 by
two master cooks of King Richard II; nor in Ancient Cookery, a recipe
book of 1381; nor at the Inthronization Feast of George Neville,
Archbishop of York, in 1504. The fruit was, however, known in London
in the time of Henry VI, for in a poem by John Lidgate, who died about
1483, we find
"Then unto London I dyde me hye,
Of all the land it bearyeth the pryse;
'Gode pescode,' one began to cry -
'Strabery rype, and cherry s in the ryse.' "
The strawberry is figured fairly well in the Ortus Sanitatis, 1511, c.
188, but there is no mention of culture. Ruellius, however, 1536,
speaks of it as growing wild in shady situations, says gardens furnish a
larger fruit, and mentions even a white variety. Fuchsius, 1542, also
speaks of the larger garden variety, and Estinne, 1545, (perhaps also in
his first edition of the De Re Hortensi, 1535), says strawberries are
used as delicacies on the table, with sugar and cream, or wine, and that
they are of the size of a hazelnut; he says the plants bear most palatable
fruit, red, especially when they are fully ripe; that some grow on the
mountains and woods, and are wild, but that some cultivated ones are
so odorous that nothing can be more so, and that these are larger, and
some are white, others red, yet others are both red and white.
Cultivated strawberries are also noted by many authors of the sixteenth
century, as by Mizaldus, 1560; Pena and Lobel in 1571; and in 1586
Lyte's Dodoens records, "they be also much planted in gardens." Porta,
1592, regards them as among the delicacies of the garden and the
delights of the palate. Hyll, 1593, says "they be much eaten at all men's
tables," and that "they will grow in gardens unto the bigness of a
mulberry." Le Jardinier Solitaire, 1612, gives directions for planting,
and Parkinson, 1629, notes a number of varieties. As to size,
Dorstenius, 1540, speaks of them as of the size of a hazel-nut; Bauhin,
1596, as being double the size of the wild; the Hortus Eystettensis,
1613, figures berries one and three-eighths inches in diameter;
Parkinson, in 1629, as "neere five inches about;" Plat, 1653, as two
inches about in bigness; Vaillant, 1727, as an inch and sometimes
more in diameter. It remained for Frezier, who discovered Fragaria
chiloensis, and brought it to Europe in 1712, to describe fruit as of the
size of a walnut, sometimes as large as an egg; and Burbridge, a recent
writer, says that in the Equatorial Andes, in the province of Ambato,
there are strawberries growing wild, equal in size and flavor to some of
our best varieties.
The strawberry plant is variable in nature, and it seems probable that
the type of all the varieties noted under cultivation may be found in the
wild plant, if diligently sought for. In the Maine fields there are plants of
Fragaria vesca with roundish, as well as elongated fruit; of Fragaria
virginiana with roundish berries and elongated berries, with berries
having a distinct neck and those not necked; of a deep red, scarlet, and
palish color; with large fruit and small fruit; with large growth and
small growth, according to the fertility of the soil.
As to color of fruit, white strawberries, to be referred to Fragaria vesca,
are mentioned by Ruellius, 1536, and by a host of following writers.
Peck has found white berries of this species about Skaneateles, New
York. A white-fruited variety of F. virginiana is noted by Dewey as
abundant in the eastern portion of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
Molina records that the Chile strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis, in Chile
has red, white, and yellow-fruited varieties, and Frezier, who introduced
the species to Europe in 1712, calls the fruit pale red. Gmelin in his
Flora Sibirica, 1768, mentions three varieties of Fragaria vesca; one
with a larger flower and fruit, one with white fruit; a third with winged
petioles and berries an inch long. This last variety seems to answer to
those forms of strawberry plants occasionally found among the
seedlings at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, which have
extra leaflets upon the stem of the petiole. Five-leaved strawberry plants
are noted by many of the early writers; an account of such plants may
also be found in the Report of the New York Agricultural Experiment
Station for 1877.
Variegated-leaved forms are named by Tournefort, 1719, and a number
of varieties by Mawe in 1778. Such forms were also noted among the
seedling Alpines at the New York Station in 1887. Don, in his History of
Dichlamydeous Plants, 1832, describes Fragaria vesca as varying into
red, white, and black fruit, as without runners, as double flowered, as
with stamens transformed into flowers, as without petals and with
Foliaceous sepals; F. majaufea Duch., as varying into green, red, and
purple fruit; F. breslingea Duch., as having varieties with usually fivelobed
leaves; F. elatior as possessing a curled-leaved form; F.
grandiflora as furnishing a variegated-leaved form; and F. chiloensis as
having red-fleshed and white-fleshed fruit. Among the variations to be
also noted is that of losing all its leaves in winter ascribed to the F.
viridis Weston, and the twice-bearing habit of the Alpines, F. vesca
Linn., var. a.
The earliest cultivated variety with a distinct nomenclature seems to be
the Le Chapiron, of the Gallobelgians, a variety with a large, palecolored
berry, so named by Lobel, in 1576, and called by him Chapiton
in the index to his Icones, 1591. (The Capiton of Tournefort, 1719,
seems to correspond to the modern Hautbois class.) The name, Le
Capiton, occurs also in the Hortus Regius Parisiis, 1665. It is quite
probable that the Caprons mentioned by Quintinye in 1672, are the
same or a similar variety, as both kinds are to be referred to Fragaria
The modern varieties under American culture have usually large
berries with more or less sunken seeds, with the trusses lower than the
leaves, and seem to belong mostly to the species represented in nature
by Fragaria virginiana, although they are supposed hybridizations
with Fragaria chiloensis, and, in the higher-flavored class, with
Fragaria elatior. Certain it is that, in growing seedlings from our
improved varieties, reversions often occur to varieties referable to the
Hautbois and Chilean sorts, from which hybridization can be inferred.
One notes as of common occurrence that seedlings from high-flavored
varieties are very likely to furnish some plants of the Hautbois class,
and even scarcely, if at all, distinguishable from named varieties of the
Hautbois with which there has been opportunity for close comparison.
from large-berried varieties of diminished flavor, and which
occasionally throw hollowed berries, the reversion occasionally
produces plants unmistakably of the Chilean type. In other cases we
have noticed reversions to forms of Fragaria vesca.
These circumstances all lead towards establishing the mingled
parentage of our varieties under cultivation, and render the
classification of cultivated varieties somewhat difficult. Vilmorin seems
to have separated varieties into natural groupings under the headings:
Wood strawberries, Fragaria vesca Linn.; Alpine strawberries, Fragaria
alpina Pers.; Short-runnered Fragaria collina Ehrh.; Hautbois,
Fragaria elatior Ehrh.; Scarlet, Fragaria virginiana Ehrh.; Chile,
Fragaria chiloensis Duch.; Pineapple, Fragaria grandiflora Ehrh., and
Hybrid (Fragaria hybrida). Under the latter distribution, to which he
does not venture the Latin nomenclature, he does not recognize
sufficient identity of character for general description, but one may well
believe that an extended acquaintance with varieties will enable a
description to be formulated which will make of this group a species by
convenience, or, otherwise expressed, a historical species, with a
number of subspecies (for convenience) which shall simplify the
question of arrangement and which will enable us to secure a quicker
identification of varieties.
The changes which have been produced, or have appeared under
cultivation, seem comparatively few.
F. chiloensis Duchesne. GARDEN STRAWBERRY. PINE
- 1. Increased size of plant. Yet in
nature we find variability in this respect, arising from greater or less
fertility or favoring character of the soil and exposure. This increase of
size seems also in a measure to have become hereditary.
size of berry. In nature we find variability in this respect. All analogical
reasoning justifies the belief that this gain may arise through heredity
influenced by long series of selections.
- Firmness of berry. Present
knowledge does not admit of assigning a cause for this feature, unless it
has been gained through hybridization.
- Flavor. This seems to be the
direct sequence of hybridization, in its more marked aspects; in its
lesser aspects it does not seem to exceed that which occurs between
- Aspect. This seems to have been acquired through
the action of hybridization, when the influence of one parent appears to
have become predominant. The whole subject of the influences noted
and to be ascribed to -hybridization must be left for further study.
Western shores of the New World.
This is a dioecious strawberry,
bearing very large fruit and called in Chile quelghen. The best quality of
fruit, according to Molina, came from the Chilean provinces of Puchacay
and Huilquilemu. The plant was carried by Frezier in 1712 from
Conception to Europe and from Europe was carried to the West Indies.
Prince describes the Large Scarlet Chile as imported to this country
from Lima, about 1820, and the Montevideo, about 1840, and 14
other, varieties originating from this species.
F. collina Ehrh. GREEN STRAWBERRY.
Europe and northern Asia.
The fruits are greenish, tinged with red, of a
musky, rich, pineapple flavor. Prince enumerates four varieties as
F. elatior Ehrh. HAUTBOIS STRAWBERRY.
The French call this class of strawberries caprons. The fruit has
a musky flavor which many persons esteem. Prince describes eight
varieties in cultivation.
F. vesca Linn. ALPINE STRAWBERRY. PERPETUAL
STRAWBERRY. WOOD STRAWBERRY.
Previous to 1629, the date of the introduction of the
Virginian strawberry, this was the species generally gathered in Europe
and the fruit referred to by Shakespeare:
" My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holbom,
I saw good strawberries in your garden there."
This species is mentioned by Virgil, Ovid and Pliny as a wild plant. Lyte,
in his translation of Dodoens' Herball, refers to it as growing wild in
1578 and first appearing in an improved variety in cultivation about
1660. A. De Candolle, however, states that it was cultivated in the
mediaeval period. Gray says it is indigenous in the United States,
particularly northward. In Scandinavia, it ripens beyond 70�. Prince
enumerates 10 varieties of the Wood, and 15 varieties of the Alpine,
under cultivation. In 1766, Duchesne says, "The King of England was
understood to have received the first seed from Turin." It was such a
rarity that a pinch of seed sold for a guinea.
F. virginiana Duchesne. SCARLET STRAWBERRY. VIRGINIA
Eastern North America.
Called by the New England Indians
wuttahimneask. The Indians bruised this strawberry with meal in a
mortar and made bread. This fruit was mentioned by Edward Winslow
in Massachusetts in 1621. The settlers on the ship Arabella, at Salem,
June 12, 1630, went ashore and regaled themselves with strawberries.
Wood, in his New England Prospects, says strawberries were in
abundance, "verie large ones, some being two inches about." Roger
Williams says "this berry is the wonder of all the fruits growing
naturally in these parts. It is of itself excellent; so that one of the chiefest
doctors of England was wont to say, that God could have made, but
God never did make, a better berry. In some parts where the Indians
have planted, I have many times seen as many as would fill a good ship,
within few miles compass." This fruit was first mentioned in England,
by Parkinson, 1629, but it was a hundred years or more afterwards
before attention began to be paid to improved seedlings. Hovey's
Seedling was originated in America in 1834. Prince, in 1861, gives a
descriptive list of 87 varieties which he refers to this species.
Frankenia portulacaefolia Spreng. Frankeniaceae. SEA HEATH.
St. Helena Islands.
One of the few plants indigenous in the Island of St.
Helena but now, J. Smith says, believed to be extinct. Balfour says the
leaves were used in St. Helena as a substitute for tea.
Fraxinus excelsior Linn. Oleaceae. ASH.
Temperate regions of the Old World.
The keys of the ash were formerly
pickled by steeping in salt and vinegar and were eaten as a condiment,
a use to which they are still put in Siberia. The leaves are sometimes
used to adulterate tea.
F. ornus Linn. MANNA ASH.
Mediterranean region and the Orient. The manna ash is indigenous and
is cultivated in Sicily and Calabria.
When the trees are eight or ten years
old, one cut is made every day from the commencement of July to the
end of September, from which a whitish, glutinous liquor exudes
spontaneously and hardens into manna. Manna is collected during
nine years, when the tree is exhausted and is cut down and only a
shoot left, which after four or five years becomes in turn productive.
Once a week the manna is collected. The yield is about 5 pounds of
select and 70 pounds of assorted manna per acre. This tree is the melia
of Dioscorides, the meleos of modern Greece. The seeds are imported
into Egypt for culinary and medicinal use and are called bird tongues.
Fraxinus excelsior Linn.
Furnishes a little manna in some districts of
The manna of Scripture is supposed to be a Lichen, Parmelia
esculenta, a native of Asia Minor, the, Sahara and Persia. Some believe
manna to be the exudation found on the stems of Alhagi maurorum
Medic., a shrubby plant which covers immense plains in Arabia and
Palestine and which now furnishes a manna used in India. In Kumaun,
as Madden states, the leaves and branches of Pinus excelsa Wall.,
become covered with a liquid exudation which hardens into a kind of
manna, sweet, not turpentiny, which is eaten. Tamarisk manna is
collected in India from the twigs of Tamarix articulata Ehr. and T.
gallica Ehr., and is used to adulterate sugar as well as for a food by the
Bedouin Arabs. Pyrus glabra Boiss., affords in Luristan a substance
which, according to Hauss-knecht, is collected and is extremely like oak
manna. The same traveller states that Salix fragilis Linn., and
Scrophularia frigida Boiss., likewise yield in Persia saccharine
exudations. A kind of manna was anciently collected from Cedrus
libani Linn. Australian manna is found on the leaves of Eucalyptus
viminalis LabilL, E. mannifera Mudie and E. dumosa A. Cunn.; that
from the second species is used as food by the natives. This latter
manna is said to be an insect secretion and is called lerp. In Styria,
Larix europaea DC., exudes a honeyed juice which hardens and is
called manna. In Asiatic Turkey, diarbekir manna is found on the
leaves of dwarf oaks. Pinus lambertiana Dougl., of southern Oregon,
yields a sort of exudation used by the natives, which resembles manna.
Freycinetia banksii A. Cunn. Pandaneae.
The flowers, of a sweetish taste, are eagerly eaten, by the
natives of New Zealand. This plant is said by Curl to bear the best
edible fruit of the country.
F. milnei Seem.
According to Milne, the fruit is eaten by the Fijians.
Fritillaria camschatcensis Ker-Gawl. Liliaceae. KAMCHATKA
The bitter tubers, says Hooker, are copiously eaten by the
Indians of Sitka and are known by the name of koch. This plant is
enumerated by Dall among the useful indigenous Alaskan plants. In
Kamchatka, the women collect the roots, which are used in cookery in
various ways; when roasted in embers, they supply the place of bread.
Captain Cook said he boiled and ate these roots as potatoes and found
them wholesome and pleasant. Royle says the bulbs are eaten in the
F. lanceolata Pursh. NARROW-LEAVED FRITILLARY.
Western North America.
The roots are eaten by some Indians.