All about strawberry > History

America and Europe, depending on variety

From the Old English "streawberige," perhaps because of the strawlike appearance of the runners.

Though you are probably familiar with the Disney movie "Pocohontas," you may not know that this was the name Native Indians gave to their favorite variety of strawberry! Late spring was the time for picking wild strawberries and they were celebrated as the "first fruit of the year."

The Romans gathered wild strawberries for their therapeutic properties. Though strawberries were introduced into France about 1600, the fruit we know today did not make its appearance until 1766 when it was produced by crossing two wild American varieties.

François Frézier, a cartographer and navy officer who went to Chile in 1714 to draw up plans for fortifications, returned to France with five Fragaria chiloensis plants which he tried to acclimate in his garden at Plougastel. Noticing that the plants were dioecious -that is, each plant was either male or female - he waited until they were in full flower and proceeded to cross-pollinate them with a Virginian variety.

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