History of Strawberries

The history of strawberries and humans appears to begin some time in early human history. Strawberry seeds were found in the iron age settlements. The leaves and fruit appear to have been used primarily for medicinal purposes.

50 AD - first written mention of strawberries by Pliny, the Roman naturalist.

In Roman times they were used for medicinal purposes to allevieat fainting, kidney stones, inflammation, blood, liver or spleen disease, thraot infections and gout. They were also enjoyed pickled, but not used too much other than that due to their small size.

1100s - for a short time, strawberries were widely believed to be unhealthy because they grew so close to the ground where snakes and toads could touch them.

1300s - first records of strawberries being planted, in the Louvre gardens, by order of King Charles V

1400s - strawberry was illustrated as a medicinal plant in a German botanical volume called Herbarius Latinus Moguntiae

1500s - Jacques Cartier and Thomas Hariot, explorers to the new world, both mention the quality and quantity of strawberries they discovered. Thomas Hariot brought plants back with him from Virginia for his own garden in London England.

Bruyerin-Champier mentions the popularity of strawberries and cream as a treat that motivated ladies to have strawberries planted in their own gardens.

At about the same time, instructions on the cultivation of strawberry plants begin to appear in horticultural books. It appears that strawberries grew larger in gardens than they did in the wild, even wothout creating hybrids.

1600s - King Louis XIV loved strawberries, and had them grown in his garden. His gardener kept the first detailed diary of how to develop larger berries, how to prepare the soil and deal with insects.

1700s - the first strawberry hybrids were created, French naturalists combined a chilean and virginian variety to produce larger, sweeter fruit.

1800s - strawberries began to be commmonly planted in European and North American gardens, but were initially sold only in local markets.

In about 1845 the first berries were sent further afield by packing the boxes with ice. Larger scale production became viable as a result of this innovation.

1900s - new hybrids were discovered, and largescale production began in the U.S. - propelling the state of California to the top of world strawberry production.

They are now one of the most popular berry fruits in the world.

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History of Strawberries