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Temporal range: Miocene–Recent
Fragaria vesca illustration from Atlas des plantes de France 1891, by A. Masclef
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Tribe: Potentilleae
Subtribe: Fragariinae
Genus: Fragaria

20+ species; see text

Fragaria (/frəˈɡɛəri.ə/)[1] is a genus of flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae, commonly known as strawberries for their edible fruits. There are more than 20 described species and many hybrids and cultivars. The most common strawberries grown commercially are cultivars of the garden strawberry, a hybrid known as Fragaria × ananassa. Strawberries have a taste that varies by cultivar, and ranges from quite sweet to rather tart. Strawberries are an important commercial fruit crop, widely grown in all temperate regions of the world.


Strawberries are not berries in the botanical sense.[2] The fleshy and edible part of the "fruit" is a receptacle, and the parts that are sometimes mistakenly called "seeds" are achenes and therefore the true botanical fruits.[2][3]


The genus name Fragaria derives from fragum ("strawberry") and -aria, a suffix used to create feminine nouns and plant names. The Latin name is thought in turn to derive from a Proto-Indo-European language root meaning "berry", either *dʰreh₂ǵ- or *sróh₂gs.[4] The genus name is sometimes mistakenly derived from fragro ("to be fragrant, to reek").[citation needed]

The English word is found in Old English as streawberige.[5] It is commonly thought that strawberries get their name from straw being used as a mulch in cultivating the plants, though it has been suggested that the word is possibly derived from "strewn berry" in reference to the runners that "strew" or "stray away" from the base of the plants. Streaw in Old English means 'straw', but also streawian means 'to strew', from the same root.[6] David Mikkelson argues that "the word 'strawberry' has been part of the English language for at least a thousand years, well before strawberries were cultivated as garden or farm edibles."[7][8]


There are more than 20 different Fragaria species worldwide. A number of other species have been proposed, some of which are now recognized as subspecies.[9] One key to the classification of strawberry species is that they vary in the number of chromosomes. They all have seven basic types of chromosomes, but exhibit different polyploidy. Some species are diploid, having two sets of the seven chromosomes (14 chromosomes total), but others are tetraploid (four sets, 28 chromosomes total), hexaploid (six sets, 42 chromosomes total), octoploid (eight sets, 56 chromosomes total), or decaploid (ten sets, 70 chromosomes total).

As a rough rule (with exceptions), strawberry species with more chromosomes tend to be more robust and produce larger plants with larger berries.[10]

The oldest fossils confidently classifiable as Fragaria are from the Miocene of Poland. Fossilised Fragaria achenes are also known from the Pliocene of China.[11]

Diploid species

Fragaria daltoniana, a species from the Himalayas
Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), a Northern Hemisphere species
Flower of Fragaria nilgerrensis, an Asian species
Wild strawberries (Fragaria viridis) from Sosnovka, Penza Oblast, Russia
Fragaria viridis fruit photographed in Keila, Estonia

Tetraploid species

  • Fragaria corymbosa Losinsk. (northern China)
  • Fragaria × intermedia (Bach) Beck (Europe)

Pentaploid hybrids

Hexaploid species

Octoploid species and hybrids

Decaploid species and hybrids

Polyploidy unknown

  • Fragaria tayulinensis S.S.Ying (Taiwan)

Uncategorized hybrids


A number of species of butterflies and moths feed on strawberry plants: see list of Lepidoptera that feed on strawberry plants.

See also


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995: 606–07
  2. ^ a b Esau, K. 1977. Anatomy of seed plants. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
  3. ^ E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia: Fragaria virginiana.
  4. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008). Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages. Brill. p. 239. ISBN 9789004167971.
  5. ^ Ðeós wyrt ðe man fraga and óðrum naman streáwbergean nemneþ: Anglo-Saxon Leechdom
  6. ^ Bosworth and Toller: An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary
  7. ^ "Etymology of Strawberry". 5 October 2003. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  8. ^ Darrow, G.M. (1966). The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology Archived 2013-08-26 at the Wayback Machine 3. Early History of the Strawberry: 16
  9. ^ "Species records in the database (for the query: genus = Fragaria)". U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  10. ^ Darrow, George M. The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology. New York. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966. online text Archived 2013-08-26 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Huang, Yong-Jiang; Zhu, Hai; Momohara, Arata; Jia, Lin-Bo; Zhou, Zhe-Kun (March 2019). "Fruit fossils of Rosoideae (Rosaceae) from the late Pliocene of northwestern Yunnan, Southwest China". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 57 (2): 180–189. doi:10.1111/jse.12443. ISSN 1674-4918. S2CID 89751967.
  12. ^ Hummer, K.E. (2012). "A new species of Fragaria (Roseaceae) from Oregon". Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 6 (1): 9–15. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  13. ^ Bors, R.H.; Sullivan, J.A. (2005). "Interspecific Hybridization of Fragaria vesca subspecies with F. nilgerrensis, F. nubicola, F. pentaphylla, and F. viridis" (PDF). J. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. 130 (3): 418–423. doi:10.21273/JASHS.130.3.418.
  14. ^ Bors, Robert H.; Sullivan, J. Alan (August 1996). "Production of Interspecific Hybrids between Hexaploid Fragaria moschata and the diploid species F. nubicola and F. viridis". HortScience. 31 (4): 610. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.31.4.610b.
  15. ^ Karp, David (July 2006). "Berried Treasure". Smithsonian Magazine.

Further reading

  • Hogan, Sean (chief consultant) (2003), Flora: A Gardener's Encyclopedia, Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-538-1.
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