Fruit plant of eight main species of the genus Fragaria (rose family), the chief cultivated varieties of which are F. virginiana and F. chiloensis, native to the Americas. The low-growing, herbaceous plant has a fibrous root system and a crown from which basal leaves arise. The leaves are compound, with three leaflets, sawtooth-edged and hairy. Small clusters of white flowers grow on slender stalks. Botanically, the strawberry fruit is not a berry or a single fruit, but is instead a greatly enlarged stem end that contains many partially embedded true fruits (achenes), popularly called seeds. The plant propagates by stolons as it ages. Strawberries are very perishable and require cool, dry storage. They are eaten fresh or prepared for use in desserts or preserves. Rich in vitamin C, they also provide iron and other minerals.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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