G.M. Darrow, The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology
In the preceding chapters of this book, Miss Lee has detailed early contributions to both the development of the modern strawberry and to knowledge about the strawberry in general. The contributions of Duchesne were notable in both instances. Later, the work of such men as Knight, Keens, and Laxton did much to further the strawberry's progress. The present chapter considers the more important books and articles on the strawberry which, with the contributions of many others referred to earlier, provide the literary background to the development of the modern strawberry.
As with most other crop plants, the literature of the strawberry is extensive and the contributions to our knowledge of it have been made by many. As a student of the strawberry and a writer about it, Duchesne set a high standard, and he has been followed by many dedicated students since. Each year reports of experiment stations, articles, and books add more to our knowledge and understanding. One of the more recent additions appeared in 1964, the work of Baldini and Brazanti which describes and beautifully illustrates in color 75 varieties tested or grown in Italy. Such contributions provide material and incentive for advance.
Not all of the important books and articles on the strawberry are presented in this chapter. Some, like the publications of East, Schiemann, Harland, and their students, are given separate treatment elsewhere (see Chap. 7), while others, especially articles resulting from experiment station work, are included with the material to which they are particularly appropriate. The literature described below marks special advances, or provides important collections of information.
Histoire Naturelle des Fraisiers, by A. Duchesne, 1766.
Paris (see preceding chapters). A book of all that was known of
the strawberry of the time.
"Upon the variations of the Scarlet Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) when Propagated by Seeds," by T.A. Knight, 1818, in Transactions of the Hort. Soc. of London, published in 1820.
On August 4, 1818, Knight (Fig. 5-1) read this paper before the Horticultural Society of London and it was published in the Transactions of the Society in 1820. Knight had made actual crosses and he reported on selections from the following crosses:
White Chili x Black
Pine x Black
Scarlet (a Virginian) x Black
One of the selections (#7) was later named Downton and a color plate of it was published. It was a light scarlet and described as "exquisitely rich far excelling any other ever tasted." Selection #2 (White Chili x Black) bore the largest fruit Knight had ever seen (largest 274 grains = .6 oz., or 26 berries per pound). In 1819 he originated the Elton, long the standard of quality for preserving. Knight's articles were of importance not for their extent, but because they reported the first actual crosses ever made that resulted in named varieties. His success in breeding stimulated others to do systematic breeding, both in Europe and in America.
"An Account and Description of the Different Varieties
of Strawberries which have been cultivated and examined in the
garden of the Horticultural Society of London," by J. Barnet,
1824, in Trans. of the Hort. Soc. of London, published
When the Horticultural Society of London established a garden at Cheswick in the spring of 1822, the secretary wrote to members and others in an effort to obtain a collection, as complete as possible, of strawberries which grew in the gardens of Great Britain. He obtained 400 lots which James Barnet, an undergardener in the Fruit Department of the Garden, studied in 1823 and 1824. He reported on them at a meeting of the Society December 7, 1824, in a classic paper named above and published in their Transactions in 1826. For each variety he gave the history, so far as he could obtain it, along with the variety's synonyms and description, then classed the varieties with contrasting characters of each in mind. Of the 6 classes, he listed 26 varieties of the Scarlet (= Virginian), 5 of Black strawberries (= I type of Pine), 13 of Pine (= hybrids), the True Chili (= Chilean), Hautbois or Musky (= F. moschata), Green (= F. viridis), and Alpine and Wood (= F. vesca). His accuracy and breadth of view compares favorably with that of Duchesne.
"Recherches sur les caracteres de la vegetation du Fraisier,"
by M.J. Gay, 1857, in Annales des Sciences Naturelles.
M.J. Gay published his paper, in which he made detailed descriptions and gave the geographic distribution of those species considered good at that time. Duchesne was the first and Gay the second major botanist of the strawberry.
Le Fraisier in Le Jardin Fruitier du Museum, Vol. IX,
by J. Decaisne and E. Vilmorin, Vols. published between 1862-1875.
In this series of volumes appearing from 1862 to 1875, volume 9 by Decaisne includes drawings of strawberry plants and colored illustrations of the fruit of the species and of important varieties. See Plate 7-1) These drawings and illustrations are by A. Piocreux, and nearly equal those prepared by Duchesne. This volume also contains detailed descriptions by Madame Eliza Vilmorin (Fig. 00) of both species and varieties of the time. The colored illustrations show us what the early strawberries were like and how present varieties compare with those of 100 years ago.
A Complete Manual for the Cultivation of the Strawberry,
by R.G. Pardee, Third Edition, 1857, 157 pp. C.M. Saxton &
This early American treatise published before the Civil War gives specific directions for the cultivation of strawberries as well as for the selection of the best varieties, and includes descriptions of 24. Estimates of production for the year 1855 are given: about 1500 acres in the vicinity of New York and about 500 acres near each of Philadelphia, Boston and Cincinnati, producing an average of about fifty bushels per acre. Pardee stated that "one hundred and twenty-five bushels ought to be only an ordinary crop, and $1000 the product of any fair acre of land." He said that he often had plots of ground producing in a ratio of twice that amount and cited one case where 300 bushels per acre were realized.
Le Fraisier, sa Botanique, sou Histoire, sa Culture,
by C. Lambertye, 1864, 392 pp.
This work by Lambertye is of major importance to the European strawberry. According to Bunyard (Jour. Royal Hort. Soc., 39: 541-552, 1914) "This writer spent the years of his country retirement in growing all varieties of strawberries obtainable and in the study of their history and literature." No more complete work on this fruit has ever been published and for the history of strawberry development up to his day it stands unrivalled. Lambertye reviewed the species and their geographical distribution (115 pp.) and gives a chart of the origin of important varieties. The domestication of the strawberry is divided into 3 periods-from 1570 up to the book by Duchesne in 1766 (196 years), from 1760 to the second edition of "Fruits of France" by Comte Lelieur in 1842 (75 years), and from the "Fruits of France" to Lambertye's time, 1862 (20 years). A third part of this book is on the culture of the strawberry.
The Strawberry and Its Culture, by J.M. Merrick, Jr.,
In 1870 J.M. Merrick, Jr., published this book, which was notable for its careful appraisal and description of 813 varieties. European as well as American strawberries were reviewed. Merrick, himself, had seedlings of the cross Hovey x Admiral Dundas not yet in fruiting and he gave details for crossing and for growing seedlings. For obtaining firmness of berry, he suggested using La Constante as a parent and described Underwoods Seedling from La Constante as wonderfully firm. He stated that all varieties of the native Virginian showed their parentage very strongly. The Brooklyn Scarlet was said to be so tender that a ripe berry laid on a dish would lose its shape by its own weight by morning. He stated, "What has been done merely shows us how great results we may hope for in the near future." He told of the many flavors of different varieties: pineapple in Lennings White and Rivers' Eliza, raspberry in Lucas, apricot in Duc de Malakoff, musky in Hautbois, currant in Exposition de Chalons, a cherry flavor in some foreign ones, and a delicious aroma in the native wild type, absent in many large varieties. He said further that the Chili varieties were of little value, being large, coarse, often hollow with soft poor-flavored flesh, and added that "Hautbois strawberries find very few admirers in this part of the country."
Das Buch der Erdbeeren, by F. Goeschke, 1874, 258 pp.
Franz Goeschke in 1874 did for Germany what Lambertye in 1864 had done for the French in publishing his authoritative book on the strawberry. Part 1 describes its culture in the field and in the greenhouse, and part 2 its history, botany, and varieties. Over 100 pages are used to describe and illustrate with fine drawings the varieties of 90 years ago.
Les Fraisiers, by A. Millet, 1898, 218 pp.
This book has 2 parts-the first, of 79 pages, on the origin and history of strawberries, and the second on their culture. It also includes a chapter on varieties of that day. Millet divides the development of large-fruited strawberries into seven periods: 1730 to 1766, 1766-1820, 1820-1845, 1845-1855, 1855-1870, 1870-1885, and 1885-1889. Each period he characterizes by the important varieties that advanced the strawberry industry.
The Strawberry in North America, by S.W. Fletcher, 1917,
215 pp., and "Fragaria virginiana in the evolution
of the garden strawberry in North America," in Society
of Horticultural Science Proceedings, 1915; 125-137; and "North
American Varieties of the Strawberry," in Technical Bulletin,
No. 11, of the Virgina Agricultural Experiment Station, 1916,
The works of S.W. Fletcher (Fig. 12-7)-(1) His two books, especially The Strawberry in North America; (2) his monograph on "North American varieties of the strawberry," and (3) his article "Fragaria virginiana in the Evolution of the Garden Strawberry in North America," are possibly of greater value than the writings of Comte Lambertye, particularly for America. The importance of Fletcher's work is: (I) against the general opinion of the period in the United States he gave a new interpretation of the ancestry of the cultivated strawberry-that it was descended from the Pacific beach strawberry, the Chilean, crossed with the native meadow strawberry, the Virginian, and he gave his evidence in detail; (2) he described the important species and traced the origin of American varieties from those species, described the development of the commercial industry for each section, and evaluated the part played by the qualities of new varieties; and (3) he published in the Virginia Experiment Station Bulletin the record of the origin and a description of American varieties so far as could be found at that time. In all, it includes 1879 variety names.
Sturtevant's Notes on Edible Plants, ed. by U.P. Hedrick,
publication of N. Y. Agric. Expt. Sta., 1919, pp. 273-282.
Sturtevant (1842-1887) was the first director of the New York Experiment Station and served from 1882 to 1887. In early life he planned a history of cultivated plants and by 1880 he was well along on its organization. He continued this work while director of the station and later. In this volume he discussed the origin of the word for strawberry and the early history of the strawberry, from Vergil, Ovid, and Pliny to its introduction as a cultivated plant. Of especial use are the references he made to the early literature and illustrations concerned with the strawberry. He also listed the number of cultivated varieties mentioned by garden writers from 1545 to 1887.
Strawberries, Part III of Small Fruits of New York,
ed. by U.P. Hedrick et al., 1925. pp. 355-559.
This monograph, the seventh of a series on fruits, by U.P. Hedrick and associates, among whom was Geo. L. Slate, was published in 1925. Part III, on strawberries, includes 30 color illustrations of varieties of that time. It also has a 16-page discussion of the evolution of the cultivated strawberry and a 13-page description of the more common species. The references to species hybrids are helpful. Color illustrations of Aroma, Bubach, Chesapeake, Dunlap, Excelsior, Gandy, Haverland, Howard 17 (Premier), Joe, Klondike, Marshall (Banner, Progressive, Sample, Superb, Warfield, and Wilson, important varieties of the past, help to give an idea of the evolution of the strawberry.
Le Fraisier, ed. by F. Lesourd, 1943.
By F. Lesourd, editor-in-chief of Revue Horticole and of Gazatte du Village. This is the latest French book on the strawberry. Later editions are revisions by Simmen, assisted by Chouard, Dubois, and Verlott. The European species vesca, viridis, and moschata, and the American virginiana and chiloensis and hybrids are discussed, especially for France down to 1943. Included is a section on breeding, selection, propagation, and a chapter on varieties with their origin and characteristics.
Strawberry Improvement, by G. Darrow in Yearbook
of the U. S. Dept. Agriculture, 1937, 445-495.
In this is given a summary of the history of the strawberry from its first crossing in 1766, its second crossing in 1819, and its subsequent improvement, by the origination of superior varieties, down to the present. Methods of breeding are discussed, the work being done at various places in the world is given, and the resulting varieties listed. The species of strawberries in each of the chromosome groups are given and their hybridizing discussed. A list of 65 citations to useful literature on strawberries is included. The sources of superior qualities in species and varieties are given. The most useful parts are the summaries of the breeding work of different institutions of the world, the discussion of breeding techniques, the cytology and relationship of the species, and the sources of superior germ plasm.
De Aardbei, H.G. Kronenberg, J.D. Gerritsen, C.H. Klinkenberg,
M.A. Erkelens, and A.K. Zweede, 1949, 327 pp. W.E.J. Tjeenk Willink,
A thorough review of the strawberryits morphology and physiology, varieties, its breeding, culture, and pests.
Important Horticultural Magazines
It is due to two horticultural periodicals, the Gardener's Chronicle of England and the Revue Horticole of France, that we not only have much information about the strawberry since its cultivation began, but growers were kept informed of the latest information about them. In addition, the Royal Horticultural Society of England has helped with its meetings, shows, and its authoritative articles over a period of more than 150 years. In more recent years, Horticultural Abstracts, including Plant Breeding Abstracts, has covered the literature of the world.
In the United States and Canada there are no periodicals with the continuity of Revue Horticole or Gardener's Chronicle, but in recent years (1903 to the present) the Proceedings of the Society for Horticultural Science have done a superb job of presenting research findings promptly. In addition, there are reports of State and Federal experiment stations of the United States and Canada (1926-today), the review publication, Biological Abstracts (1926-today), and Fruit Varieties and Horticultural Digest (1945today) of the American Pomological Society.