Fragaria vesca. Strawberry.
Nat. Ord. — Rosaceae. Sex. Syst. — Icosandria Polygynia.
Description. — Strawberry has a creeping, knotty, perennial root, with short, upright and reclined, and procumbent and stoloniferous stems; stolons often creeping several feet. The leaves are pubescent, cauline and radical ; the latter on long petioles, trifoliate, the leaflets sessile or nearly so, oboval, oval, or nearly round, deeply serrated ; the former nearly similar, but smaller, both with lanceolate, oblong, acute stipules. The flowers white, one or many, with erect or drooping pedicels. Calyx spreading or reflexed, divided into ten acute segments, the alternate one being somewhat shorter. The petals are live, white, oboval or obcordate, inserted on the calyx. Stamens indefinite, small, and also inserted on the calyx. Ovaries many, with a small stigma each, inserted on a succulent gynophore, which increases in size, becomes colored, and forms the fruit. In this species the achenia are superficial on the conical or hemispherical fruiting receptacle, not sunk in pits ; in the F. Virginiana the achenia are imbedded in the deep pits of the receptacle.
History. — This is a European species, presenting innumerable varieties, which are cultivated in gardens, flowering from April to May, and ripening its fruit in May and June. The F. Virginiana, or wild strawberry, F. Canadensis, or mountain strawberry, F. Grandiflora, or pineapple strawberry, and the other varieties possess similar properties. The fruit of all the varieties, is highly fragrant and delicious when ripened in the sun ; and the cultivated varieties frequently become very large, weighing an ounce or more. Strawberry consists of equal parts of citric and malic acids, sugar, mucilage, pectin, water, peculiar volatile aroma, woody fiber, and pericarps.
Properties and Uses. — The fruit has been highly spoken of in calculous disorders, used very freely, likewise in gout, and the juice will dissolve the hard concretions called "tartar," which form on the teeth, and without injuring them. In some persons strawberries induce an eruption resembling nettle-rash, with a derangement of the digestive organs. The grains or seed-like pericarps are indigestible, and sometimes cause irritation of the bowels. Strawberry juice, or the syrup, added to water, forms a refreshing and useful drink for febrile patients ; care being taken that the grains are removed by filtering or expressing the juice or syrup through a piece of muslin. Strawberries eaten with cream are injurious to dyspeptics. The leaves are somewhat astringent, and have been used in infusion, in diarrhea, dysentery, and intestinal debility ; the roots are diuretic, and have been beneficially used in infusion in dysuria, gonorrhea, etc.