Fragaria vesca (wild strawberry)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Air Temperature
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Fragaria vesca L.
Preferred Common Name
- wild strawberry
Other Scientific Names
- Fragaria chinensis Losinsk
- Fragaria concolor Kitag
- Potentilla vesca (L.) Scop
International Common Names
- English: alpine strawberry; European strawberry; sow-teat strawberry; wild strawberry; woodland strawberry; wood-strawberry
- Spanish: fresa; fresa silvestre; fresal común
- French: fraisier; fraisier commun; fraisier des bois
- Chinese: ye cao mei
Local Common Names
- Germany: Wald- Erdbeere
- Italy: fragola selvatica
- Netherlands: wilde Aardbei
- Sweden: smultron
- FRAVE (Fragaria vesca)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
F. vesca is a perennial herb, typically known as the common wild woodland strawberry of Europe and Asia. It has a large geographical range and a wide environmental tolerance. Although little literature exists citing F. vesca as invasive, it was introduced to Hawaii as a crop plant in 1829, where it is now listed as an alien invasive species (Stone et al., 1992), but no further details are available. It is also listed as invasive in New Zealand, and on Reunion where the species is spreading in relatively high densities in natural or semi-natural environments, though it does not dominate or co-dominate vegetation (ISSG, 2013). F. vesca is able to reproduce both sexually (seeds) and asexually (runners); and these characteristics mean that escape from cultivation is relatively easy (Hollender et al., 2012). No major environmental impacts from invasion have been recorded, and the species is not listed as threatened in its native range.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Rosales
- Family: Rosaceae
- Genus: Fragaria
- Species: Fragaria vesca
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Fragaria vesca has four subspecies: the European F. vescavesca, and three American subspecies F. vescaamericana, F. vescabracteata, and F. vescacalifornica. The genus Potentilla is a close relative. The genus Fragaria was first summarised in pre-Linnaean literature in 1623. The present Fragaria taxonomy includes 20 named wild species, three described naturally-occurring hybrid species, and two cultivated hybrid species of economic importance (Hummer et al., 2011). Whiteaker (1985) also lists another subspecies, F. vesca semiflorans, which is native to Europe and is an everbearing mutant of F. vesca.
As well as a number of subspecies existing for F. vesca, there are also many varieties of the species, such asFragaria vesca var. sativa and Fragaria vesca var. chiloensis.
DescriptionTop of page
F. vesca is a perennial herb. Plants are erect, in rosette form, and 15-30 cm tall. Leaves are thin and light green, lighter coloured and slightly hairy underneath, with large sharp serrations. Flowers are white, 1.3 cm in diameter and are bisexual. The fruit is well-known: yellow or red, hemispherical with soft, pulpy flesh and highly aromatic. Seeds are small, raised and prominent on the outside of the flesh (Darrow, 1966; Hummer et al., 2011; Hancock, 1999). Flower parts are in whorls and the outer two whorls of the F. vesca flower consist of a whorl of five narrow bracts, alternating in alignment with an inner whorl of five wider sepals. Interior to the sepals is a whorl of five white petals. Flowers have 20 stamens (Hollender et al., 2012).
Plant TypeTop of page Herbaceous
DistributionTop of page
The wild woodland strawberry is native to Europe and Asia, and is the most widely distributed species of the genus Fragaria occurring throughout Europe, Northern Asia, North America and Northern Africa (Darrow, 1966; PIER, 2013; USDA NRCS, 2012). Darrow (1966) also indicated its distribution in Central and South America. However, it is unclear as to whether the subspecies of F. vesca were included in this study, as no independent country records were provided.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Bhutan||Present||Native||Grierson and Long, 1987|
|Georgia (Republic of)||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|-Sikkim||Present||Native||Grierson and Long, 1987|
|Japan||Present||Introduced||Darrow, 1966; Hummer et al., 2011|
|Korea, DPR||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|Réunion||Present||Introduced||Invasive||ISSG, 2013; PIER, 2013|
|Canada||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966; PIER, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-British Columbia||Present||Native||PIER, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New Brunswick||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Northwest Territories||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Nova Scotia||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-California||Present||Native||PIER, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Hawaii||Present||Introduced||Darrow, 1966; Stone et al., 1992; PIER, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New Hampshire||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New Jersey||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New Mexico||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New York||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-North Carolina||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-North Dakota||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Oregon||Present||Native||PIER, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Rhode Island||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-South Dakota||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-West Virginia||Present||Native||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
Central America and Caribbean
|El Salvador||Present||Darrow, 1966|
|Ecuador||Present only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced||Darrow, 1966; PIER, 2013||Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal Island|
|Czech Republic||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|Czechoslovakia (former)||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|Portugal||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Russian Federation||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|San Marino||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|-Channel Islands||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|Yugoslavia (former)||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)||Present||Native||Darrow, 1966|
|New Caledonia||Present only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced||Darrow, 1966; PIER, 2013||Ile Grande Terre|
|New Zealand||Present||PIER, 2013|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
There is little literature detailing the spread of F. vesca outside of its native range. However, given its importance in the development of hybrid strawberries of commercial value, it can be assumed that it has been introduced for cultivation since around the 1800s; it was first recorded in Hawaii in 1829 having been transported there for cultivation (Stone et al., 1992). It was also introduced to Reunion in the mid-1800s where it has naturalized on mountains and plateaus (ISSG, 2013).
F. vesca has a large native range, and there seems to be some confusion over the extent of its alien range given the number of varieties and subspecies that exist.
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Hawaii||Europe||1829||Yes||No||Stone et al. (1992)||Deliberate introduction and then probably escaped from cultivation|
|Réunion||mid 1800s||Yes||No||GISD (2005); ISSG (2005); ISSG (2013)||Probably deliberate introduction and escape from cultivation|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
F. vesca has a low risk of introduction to new areas as it is no longer transported for cultivation in gardens. The economically important cultivated species, Fragaria x ananassa,is much more likely to be introduced to new areas (Hummer et al., 2011).
HabitatTop of page
The plant is predominantly a woodland species which grows well at forest edges and along hedgerows. Although there is little information available for its invasive effects on habitats, it is probable that, where the plant may be invasive, its impacts will be seen in forest or forest edge habitats (Schulze et al., 2012; Hancock, 1999).
In Hawaii, F. vesca is naturalised in mesic areas and moist forests between 700-1700 m. On Reunion Island, it is reported to be naturalized on mountains and plateaus, and is spreading in natural or semi-natural environments (ISSG, 2013).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
|Natural forests||Principal habitat||Natural|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Where it is naturalized on Reunion and Hawaii, it does not dominate or co-dominate vegetation, but it does spread in relatively high densities (ISSG, 2013).
Biology and EcologyTop of page
F. vesca is diploid (2n=2x=14) (Shulaev et al., 2011). Triploids, pentaploids, hexaploids, heptaploids, octoploids, and decaploids have been produced by breeding F. vesca with other Fragaria species (Darrow, 1966). Natural hybridisation occurs where its range overlaps with F. viridis in Russia, Germany, France, Finland and Italy resulting in the production of F. x bifera, which has intermediate features (Hummer et al., 2011).
Floral induction is controlled by temperature and photoperiod, with a period of 4 weeks at 15°C optimal for induction (Heide and Sonsteby, 2007). F. vesca has a self-compatible breeding system, but occasionally female plants are found in European populations (Hancock, 1999).
Flowers are insect-pollinated, and about 160 seeds are produced per fruit, which are dispersed by animals and slugs. Persistence of seeds in the seed bank has not been quantified, but ranges from 1-5 years. F. vesca has a short seed to fruit cycle of around 3.5 months (Schulze et al., 2012).
Clonal reproduction is through the formation of nodes that grow on runners. Clonal reproduction usually takes place after flowering and runners are produced from summer to autumn. Connected clones can receive resources from the parent plant, and the connection via runners can remain in-tact for weeks or months allowing persistence in heterogeneous environments (Schulze et al., 2012).
Physiology and Phenology
F. vesca has an extensive geographic distribution, which is evidence for the species being able to respond to a range of environmental cues for flowering and dormancy (Heide and Sonsteby, 2007). The ability to reproduce clonally and retain connectivity via runners allows the species to persist in heterogeneous environments (Schulze et al., 2012).
A period of vernalisation has been reported as required for very northerly populations of F. vesca before flower induction can occur; it is unknown whether this period of cold is required by other populations (Heide and Sonsteby, 2007).
ClimateTop of page
|A - Tropical/Megathermal climate||Tolerated||Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually|
|B - Dry (arid and semi-arid)||Tolerated||< 860mm precipitation annually|
|BS - Steppe climate||Tolerated||> 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation|
|BW - Desert climate||Tolerated||< 430mm annual precipitation|
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
|D - Continental/Microthermal climate||Preferred||Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)|
|Ds - Continental climate with dry summer||Preferred||Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)|
|Dw - Continental climate with dry winter||Preferred||Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||16||18|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||6||10|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||680||1450||mm; lower/upper limits|
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
There are a number of natural enemies to species of Fragaria but many of these seem to only relate to cultivated varieties and not the wild Fragaria vesca. However, the fungus Phytophthora fragariae is a pest to all species of Fragaria, infecting the root system of the plant and causing it to be greatly reduced. The tips of roots decay and the core of the roots become red in colour. The decay spreads up the plant and eventually affects the crown, causing the whole plant to collapse (Department of Agriculture for Scotland, 1949; EPPO, 2000a). Infected plants can be identified by blue-green or yellow-red leaves, with those that manage to fruit producing a small number of stunted fruits. The disease can spread between plants, especially through water, and large populations can become infected. P. fragariae occurs throughout Europe, Cyprus, Japan, Lebanon, USA, Canada, Ecuador, Australia and New Zealand (EPPO, 2000a).
F. vesca has been observed to show signs of infection by viruses which cause strawberry mild yellow edge disease. It is one of the most widespread and common virus diseases in strawberries, occurring throughout Europe, China, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Canada, USA, Chile, Paraguay, Australia and New Zealand. Under natural conditions the viruses are dispersed by the strawberry aphid Chaetosiphon fragaefolii, but movement can also occur via runners (EPPO, 2000b). Symptoms include a yellowish margin on younger leaves in the centre of the plant, and a shortening of the petioles. As the disease progresses, leaves become lighter green with a markedly yellow edge (Department of Agriculture for Scotland, 1949).
Strawberry crinkle virus also infects F. vesca via the strawberry aphid C. fragaefolii, causing distortion and crinkling of the leaves, unequally-sized leaflets and small irregularly shaped chlorotic spots. Infection reduces plant vigour and productivity. The virus occurs wherever the strawberry aphid occurs, including throughout Europe, Asia, South Africa, North America, Chile, Australia and New Zealand (EPPO, 2000c).
A nepovirus, the strawberry latent ringspot virus, infects species of Fragaria and is transmitted by the nematode Xiphinema diversicaudatum. Symptoms are not usually apparent, but some strawberry cultivars show varying degrees of leaf mottling and decline (EPPO, 2000d). It is not stated whether F. vesca shows symptoms of infection, but other members of the genus have shown signs. It is possible that F. vesca could be used as an alternate host to viruses or other diseases affecting the cultivated strawberry.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
F. vesca is not dispersed by wind or water.
F. vesca seeds are transported by animals consuming fruits and depositing seeds post-digestion; mammals, birds and slugs have all been described as dispersers for species of Fragaria (Willson, 1993; Schulze et al., 2012). Specific examples of dispersal agents in the USA include the Portola woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes annectens) and the valley quail (Callipepla californica) (Anderson, 2013).
Where F. vesca has been introduced to areas outside of its native range it has been deliberate, for the cultivation of fruits, with no known record of accidental introduction. In both Hawaii and Reunion, intentional introduction occurred in the 1800s (ISSG, 2013).
Pathway CausesTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Environmental ImpactTop of page
There is a serious lack of information documenting the impact of F. vesca invasion. Although it is reported as invasive in Hawaii, Reunion and New Zealand, and grows in high densities, it does not dominate or co-dominate native vegetation (ISSG, 2013; PIER, 2013).
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerant of shade
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Reproduces asexually
- Has high genetic variability
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Rapid growth
UsesTop of page
F. vesca berries are a source of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, and ellagic acid (antioxidant) which promote human health; however, proteins within strawberries can cause allergic reactions (Hummer et al., 2011). F. vesca has been used in traditional medicine because of benefits to the liver and its diuretic properties (Kishore et al., 2012).
Uses ListTop of page
- Research model
- Gene source
Human food and beverage
- Beverage base
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Monitoring escapes from cultivation could help prevent further spread of this plant to areas where it has been introduced. However new escapes are unlikely given that F. vesca is not grown commercially since the development of garden strawberry varieties.
No details on control methods are currently available.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
There is little information on F. vesca as an invasive species. Where it is mentioned as being invasive, it has been present for many years (e.g. since the 1800s) and has naturalized but does not dominate or co-dominate vegetation. The impacts of such naturalization have not been quantified or described in detail, ecologically, socially or economically.
ReferencesTop of page
Anderson MK, Roderick W, 2013. Plant Guide: Wood Strawberry Fragaria vesca L. Plant Guide: Wood Strawberry Fragaria vesca L., USA: USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_frve.pdf
Department of Agriculture for Scotland, 1949. Strawberry Diseases. Leaflet no 9. Edinburgh, UK: J. &. J. Gray.
EPPO, 2000a. Data sheets on Quarantine Pests: Phytophthora fragariae. Prepared by CABI and EPPO for the EU under Contract 90/399003. Paris, France: EPPO.
EPPO, 2000b. Data sheets on Quarantine Pests: Strawberry mild yellow edge disease. Prepared by CABI and EPPO for the EU under contract 90/399003. Paris, France: EPPO.
EPPO, 2000c. Data sheets on Quarantine Pests: Strawberry crinkle cytorhabdovirus. Prepared by CABI and EPPO for the EU under contract 90/399003. Paris, France: EPPO.
EPPO, 2000d. Data sheets on Quarantine Pests: Strawberry latent ringspot 'nepovirus'. Prepared by CABI and EPPO for the EU under contract 90/399003. Paris, France: EPPO.
Folta KM, 2011. The genome of woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca). Nature genetics, 43(2):109-16.
Grierson AJC, Long DG, 1987. Flora of Bhutan including a Record of Plants from Sikkim, Vol. 1, Part 3. Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Garden.
Heide O, Sonsteby A, 2007. Interaction of temperature and photoperiod in the control of flowering of latitudinal and altitudinal populations of wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca). Physiologia Plantarum, 130(2):280-289.
Hollender CA, Geretz AC, Slovin JP, Liu ZC, 2012. Flower and early fruit development in a diploid strawberry, Fragaria vesca. Planta, 235(6):1123-1139. http://www.springerlink.com/content/e7285p0h63047502/
Hummer K, Bassil N, Njuguna W, 2011. Fragaria. In: Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources, Temperate Fruits [ed. by Kole, C.]. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
ISSG, 2013. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Kishore RN, Anjaneyulu N, Ganesh MN, Pruthviraj K, Sravya N, 2012. Diuretic and nephroprotective activity of fruits of Frageria vesca Linn. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 3(7):2201-2204.
Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013. Tropicos database. St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/
PIER, 2013. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html
Schulze J, Rufener R, Erhardt A, Stoll P, 2012. The relative importance of sexual and clonal reproduction for population growth in the perennial herb Fragaria vesca. Population Ecology, 54(3):369-380. http://springerlink.metapress.com/link.asp?id=103139
Stone CP, Smith CW, Tunison JT (eds), 1992. Alien plant invasions in native ecosystems of Hawai'i: Management and Research. Manoa, Hawaii, USA: Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawai'i, 887 pp. http://www.hear.org/books/apineh1992/
USDA-NRCS, 2013. Plants Database. USA: United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Office. http://plants.usda.gov/java/
Whiteaker S, 1985. The complete strawberry. London, UK: Century Publishing, 128 pp.
ContributorsTop of page
31/01/13 Original text by:
Isabel Jones, Consultant, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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