The garden strawberry is a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria (collectively known as the strawberries). It is cultivated worldwide for its fruit. The fruit (which is not a botanical berry, but an aggregate accessory fruit) is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness.
It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in such prepared foods as preserves, fruit juice, pies, ice creams, milkshakes, and chocolates. Artificial strawberry flavorings and aromas are also widely used in many products like lip gloss, candy, hand sanitizers, perfume, and many others.
The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, which was brought from Chile by Amédée-François Frézier in 1714. Cultivars of Fragaria × ananassa have replaced, in commercial production, the woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), which was the first strawberry species cultivated in the early 17th century.
The first garden strawberry was grown in Brittany, France during the late 18th century. Prior to this, wild strawberries and cultivated selections from wild strawberry species were the common source of the fruit.
The strawberry fruit was mentioned in ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use.
The French began taking the strawberry from the forest to their gardens for harvest in the 14th century. Charles V, France’s king from 1364 to 1380, had 1,200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. In the early 15th century western European monks were using the wild strawberry in their illuminated manuscripts.