Plants grown in northern gardens: Strawberries

Strawberries are stoloniferous herbs, producing five-divided, usually white flowers and fleshy, red juicy fruits.  Rich soils and plenty of sunlight are important for strawberries; such conditions may be found at forest edges and south-facing slopes.  While the berries are delicious, strawberries are also medicinal herbs against intestinal problems.

Three species of strawberries, Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Musk Strawberry (F. moschata) and Creamy Strawberry (F. viridis), grow wild in Europe.  Wild Strawberry being the most widespread and the only species of strawberries growing wild here in Iceland.  Wild Strawberry is common in South and West Iceland. While vegetative growth with runners is strong, wild strawberries may produce ornamental white flowers and later tiny edible berries in sheltered sunny spots here in Iceland.  Musk Strawberry (F. moschata) is a native European species and quite common in central Europe.  Musk Strawberry extends its distribution to other parts of Europe including Scandinavia, Britain, and Spain.  Creamy Strawberry (F. viridis) has a similar distribution, but does not grow in the wild in Britain.

The common strawberry, the Garden Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa ) is a hybrid between two American species Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) and Virginia Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana).  The Garden Strawberry can be grown in gardens as far north as Iceland.  Developing berries need to be protected from birds.  For a commercial harvest Garden Strawberries are cultivated in greenhouses in some countries in Northern Europe and North America, good knowledge of the biology of Garden Strawberries and relevant horticultural techniques is needed for greenhouse cultivation of this species on large scale.   


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