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Fragaria × ananassa are more commonly known as the Garden Strawberry, or simply Strawberries.
Strawberries are part of the Rosaceae family, which also contains a wide range of other edible fruits such as raspberries, pears, cherries, peaches, apples and more. As the Rosaceae name suggests, this family also contains ornamental roses.
They don't exactly have an origin as such, as these plants are cultivated, i.e. they're not found in the wild. However, they have a long history of being grown to be eaten (as well as for other purposes). It's thought that they were originally cultivated in Ancient Rome, but the first documented Strawberry plant appears as a botanical illustration as far back as 1454!
In order to stay healthy and produce a bountiful harvest, strawberry plants need to be grown outdoors and receive ample sunlight. Ideally, they should be exposed to at least 6 hours of full sun per day.
Growing strawberries indoors is not ideal, as they require a lot of sunlight and space to grow properly. Indoor conditions may not provide enough light or the necessary ventilation for strawberry plants, which can lead to poor growth, diseases, and low yields. It is best to grow strawberries outdoors in a sunny spot with well-draining soil and proper irrigation to ensure healthy and bountiful plants.
They also need a lot of water, although you should never let the soil become waterlogged. Strawberries have a very shallow root system, so it's important to help protect your plant from developing root rot. Check the soil before watering again to make sure it's not too moist.
If you are growing strawberries for the purpose of eating the fruits, it is recommended to remove the runners as you see them. Runners are shoots that are produced by strawberry plants as a means of reproduction, but they take away nutrients and energy from the plant that could be used to produce larger and more flavorful fruit. Removing runners can help redirect the plant's resources towards fruit production, leading to a more abundant harvest.
In addition to removing runners to promote fruit production, you can also use them to propagate new strawberry plants. When the original plants become too old or produce less fruit, you can take the runners and plant them in a separate area to grow new plants. This process, known as "propagation," can be a great way to expand your strawberry patch and ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit. By taking care to remove runners from established plants and propagate new ones, you can enjoy healthy and productive strawberry plants for many years to come.
They're not just grown to be eaten, though. Throughout history, Strawberries have been used medicinally and for cosmetic purposes. For example, parts of the berries, leaves and roots were used as a digestive tonic and to help treat gout. Externally, Strawberries have previously been used to treat skin imperfections and to help whiten teeth, as well as being used as a means to relieve sunburn. Whether or not these methods are actually effective is debatable though!