VIRGINIA STRAWBERRY





(Fragaria Virginiana) Rose family



Flowers - White, loosely clustered at summit of an erect hairy

scape usually shorter than the leaves. Calyx persistent in fruit,

deeply 5-cleft, with 5 bracts between the divisions; 5 petals;

stamens and pistils numerous, the latter inserted on a

cushion-like receptacle becoming fleshy in fruit. Staminate and

pistillate flowers, from separate roots. Stem: Running, and

forming new plants. Leaves: Tufted from the root, on hairy

petioles 2 to 6 in. tall, compounded of 3 broadly oval, saw-edged

leaflets. Fruit. An ovoid, glistening red berry, the minute

achenes imbedded in pits on its surface. Ripe, June-July. (Latin,

fragum = fragrant fruit, the strawberry.)

Preferred Habitat - Dry fields, banks, roadsides, woodlands.

Flowering Season - April-June.

Distribution - New Brunswick to the Gulf of Mexico, and westward

to Dakota.



"Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God

never did." Whether one is kneeling in the fields, gathering the

sun-kissed, fragrant, luscious, wet scarlet berries nodding among

the grass, or eating the huge cultivated fruit smothered with

sugar and cream, one fervently quotes Dr. Boteler with dear old

lzaak Walton. Shakespeare says : "My lord of Ely, when I was last

in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there." Is not

this the first reference to the strawberry under cultivation?

Since the time of Henry V, what multitudes of garden varieties

past the reckoning have been evolved from the smooth, conic

EUROPEAN WOOD STRAWBERRY (F. vesca) now naturalized in our

Eastern and Middle States, as well as from our own precious

pitted native! Some authorities claim the berry received its name

from the straw laid between garden rows to keep the fruit clean,

but in earliest Anglo-Saxon it was called streowberie, and later

straberry, from the peculiarity of its straying suckers lying as

if strewn on the ground; and so, after making due allowance for

the erratic, go-as-you-please spelling of early writers, it would

seem that there might be two theories as to the origin of the

name.



Since the different sexes of these flowers frequently occur on

separate plants, good reason have they to woo insect messengers

with a showy corolla, a ring of nectar, and abundant pollen to be

transferred while they are feasted. Lucky is the gardener who

succeeds in keeping birds from pecking their share of the berries

which, of course, were primarily intended for them. In English

gardens one is almost certain to find a thrush or two imprisoned

under the nets so futilely spread over strawberry beds, just as

their American cousin, the robin, is caught here in June.



A young botanist may be interested to note the difference in the

formation of the raspberry or blackberry and the strawberry: in

the former it is the carpels (ovaries) that swell around the

spongy receptacle into numerous little fruits (drupelets) united

into one berry, whereas it is the cushion-like receptacle itself

in the strawberry blossom that swells and reddens into fruit,

carrying with it the tiny yellow pistils to the surface.



The NORTHERN WILD STRAWBERRY (F. Canadensis), with clusters of

elongated, oblong little berries delightful to three senses,

comes over the Canadian border no farther south than the

Catskills. Nearly all strawberry plants show the useless but

charming eccentricity of bursting into bloom again in autumn, the

little white-petaled blossoms coming like unexpected flurries of

snow.



No one will confuse our common, fruiting species with the small,

yellow-flowered DRY or BARREN STRAWBERRY (Waldsteinia

fragarioides), more nearly related to the cinquefoils. Tufts of

its pretty trefoliate leaves, sent up from a creeping rootstock,

carpet the woods and hillsides from New England and along the

Alleghanies to Georgia, and westward a thousand miles or more.

Flowers in May and June.





VIRGINIA GROUND CHERRY VIRGINIA WATERLEAF facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback