Most of Europe, including Britain, to temperate Asia.
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.
Fruit - raw, cooked or made into preserves. 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. 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.
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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. A slice of strawberry is also excellent when applied externally to sunburnt skin. A tea made from the leaves is a blood tonic. It is used in the treatment of chilblains and also as an external wash on sunburn. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use. 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. 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. The roots are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
The flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator. 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. The fresh fruit removes stains from teeth if it is allowed to remain for about 5 minutes. The fruit is also used cosmetically in skin-care creams. It tones and whitens the skin, combats wrinkles, lightens freckles, soothes sunburn and whitens the teeth.
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 and on soils overlying chalk. Alpine strawberries appreciate a mulch of pine or spruce leaves. 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. 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.
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.