NamingThe alpine strawberry is used as an indicator plant for diseases that affect the garden strawberry. It is also used as a genetic model plant for garden strawberry and the Rosaceae family in general, due to its:
⤷ very small genome size
⤷ short reproductive cycle
⤷ ease of propagation.
The genome of ''Fragaria vesca'' was sequenced in 2010.
HabitatTypical habitat is along trails and roadsides, embankments, hillsides, stone- and gravel-laid paths and roads, meadows, young woodlands, sparse forest, woodland edges, and clearings. Often plants can be found where they do not get sufficient light to form fruit. In the southern part of its range, it can only grow in shady areas; further north it tolerates more sun. It is tolerant of a variety of moisture levels . It can survive mild fires and/or establish itself after fires.
Although ''F. vesca'' primarily propagates via runners, viable seeds are also found in soil seed banks and seem to germinate when the soil is disturbed .
Its leaves serve as significant food source for a variety of ungulates, such as mule deer and elk, and the fruit are eaten by a variety of mammals and birds that also help to distribute the seeds in their droppings.
UsesEvidence from archaeological excavations suggests that ''Fragaria vesca'' has been consumed by humans since the Stone Age....hieroglyph snipped... The woodland strawberry was first cultivated in ancient Persia where farmers knew the fruit as Toot Farangi. Its seeds were later taken along the Silk Road towards the far East and to Europe where it was widely cultivated until the 18th century, when it began to be replaced by the garden strawberry, , which has much larger fruit and showed greater variation, making them better suited for further breeding.
Woodland strawberry fruit is strongly flavored, and is still collected and grown for domestic use and on a small scale commercially for the use of gourmets and as an ingredient for commercial jam, sauces, liqueurs, cosmetics and alternative medicine. In Turkey hundreds of tons of wild fruit are harvested annually, mainly for export.
Most of the cultivated varieties have a long flowering period . They are usually called ''alpine strawberries''. They either form runners or multiple crowns in a cluster, fruit over a very long period with larger fruit than the common wood strawberry, and are usually propagated by seeds or division of the plants. Large-fruiting forms are known since the 18th century and were called "Fressant" in France. Some cultivars have fruit that are white or yellow when fully ripe, instead of the normal red.
Plants tend to lose vigour after a few years due to their abundant fruiting and flowering with final decline caused by viral diseases. Cultivars that form stolons are often used as groundcover, while cultivars that do not may be used as border plants. Some cultivars are bred for their ornamental value. Hybrids, ''Fragaria'' × ''vescana'', have been created from crosses between woodland strawberry and garden strawberry. Hybrids between the woodland strawberry and the European species ''Fragaria viridis'' were in cultivation until around 1850, but are now lost.
''Fragaria vesca'' is sometimes used as an herbal medicine; an herbal tea made from the leaves, stems, and flowers is believed to aid in the treatment of diarrhea.
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