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Fragaria vesca 'Semperflorens' - L.                
                 
Common Name Alpine Strawberry
Family Rosaceae
Synonyms F. alpina.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woodland and damp undergrowth[7].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to temperate Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Fragaria vesca 'Semperflorens' is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to November, and the seeds ripen from Jun to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Fragaria vesca


(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Fragaria vesca
(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Tea.

Fruit - raw, cooked or made into preserves[183]. Sweet and succulent with an exquisite taste, they are far superior to the cultivated strawberry[K]. The fruit is fairly small, up to 15mm in diameter, but it is produced abundantly from early summer until the frosts of autumn[K]. Young leaves - raw or cooked[52, 105]. Added to salads or used as a potherb[183]. The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute[7, 177, 183]. The root has been used as a coffee substitute in India[240].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Diuretic;  Laxative;  Tonic.

The leaves and the fruit are astringent, diuretic, laxative and tonic[4, 9, 222]. The leaves are mainly used, though the fruits are an excellent food to take when feverish and are also effective in treating rheumatic gout[4]. A slice of strawberry is also excellent when applied externally to sunburnt skin[4]. A tea made from the leaves is a blood tonic[222]. It is used in the treatment of chilblains[53] and also as an external wash on sunburn[222]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use[238]. The fruits contain salicylic acid and are beneficial in the treatment of liver and kidney complaints, as well as in the treatment of rheumatism and gout[244]. The roots are astringent and diuretic[4, 222]. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and chronic dysentery[4, 244]. Externally it is used to treat chilblains and as a throat gargle[244]. The roots are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238].
Other Uses
Compost;  Teeth.

The flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator[32]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K]. The fruit is used as a tooth cleaner[4]. The fresh fruit removes stains from teeth if it is allowed to remain for about 5 minutes[4]. The fruit is also used cosmetically in skin-care creams[7]. It tones and whitens the skin, combats wrinkles, lightens freckles, soothes sunburn and whitens the teeth[244].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position[27, 200]. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced when plants are growing in such a position. Prefers some shade according to some reports[3, 31]. Plants are often found on clay soils[31] and on soils overlying chalk[13]. Alpine strawberries appreciate a mulch of pine or spruce leaves[18]. The alpine strawberry is often cultivated in the garden for its edible fruit. This fruit is fairly small but exquisitely flavoured and is freely produced from June to November. There are some named varieties[183]. It is not very feasible to grow this plant on a commercial scale because it is very labour intensive to pick and it is also hard to get the fruit to market in good quality. However, it is sometimes grown by specialised growers for the luxury market. The main drawback of growing this plant is that it tends to lose vigour after about 2 - 3 years, partly due to virus diseases and partly because the plant flowers and fruits so freely that it exhausts itself.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[3]Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit.
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[27]Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden.
A reprint of a nineteenth century classic, giving details of vegetable varieties. Not really that informative though.
[31]Brown. Shade Plants for Garden and Woodland.
[32]Bruce. M. E. Commonsense Compost Making.
Excellent little booklet dealing with how to make compost by using herbs to activate the heap. Gives full details of the herbs that are used.
[52]Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round.
A good and comprehensive guide to temperate salad plants, with full organic details of cultivation.
[53]De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden.
Interesting reading.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Steve Harris Mon Nov 18 03:14:18 2002
"The fruits contain salicylic acid and are beneficial in the treatment of liver and kidney complaints, as well as in the treatment of rheumatism and gout[244]. "

I don't think so. Salicylic acid and it's salts are containdicated in gout because they inhibit excretion of uric acid.

Elizabeth H.
Sat Apr 19 2008
everything i was looking for. cheers!!!!
Michael W.
Alpine strawberries are also known as fraises des bois. There are runnering varieties as well. There is some debate over their classification. Dec 31 2010 12:00AM
I have been collecting varieties of alpine strawberries for nearly 25 years. To date I have over 40 red, white and yellow fruiting varieties. I sell these varieties as seeds and plants and have sold fruit to upscale restaurants in the past. I will provide the link to my site which is an informational site.
fraises des bois
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Subject : Fragaria vesca 'Semperflorens'  
             

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