FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS varieties of everbearing strawberries have grown wild and under cultivation in Europe. Everbearing strawberries, however, are comparatively new to North America. The reason is: the wild everbearing form, F. vesca semperflorens, is native to Europe; in North America, however, no such character is fully inherent to native species. It wasn't until around 1900 that North America had a tenable commercial everbearing variety. This variety and the ones coming after it, however, were essentially different from the early European everbearers, for they were octoploids, whereas F. vesca semperflorens was a diploid. This small-fruited diploid has now been supplanted largely in Europe by octoploid everbearers, so everbearers in the United States and Europe since 1900 bear a "family" resemblance hitherto nonexistent. The material which follows describes everbearers, both those of the past, especially in Europe, and those which are grown today in North America as well as in Europe.
The mid-1700's in Europe and England saw the introduction of the Alpine, Quatre Saisons, or perpetual, autumn or everbearing strawberry, F. vesca semperflorens. These Alpines, which were among the first strawberries grown in Europe, found at several places in the Alps, are mutants of the European wood strawberry, vesca. They form flower buds and produce fruit from early summer to late fall. They are of two types; those that produce runners and fruit all summer, and those that produce no runners and are propagated by seed, or by dividing an old plant into its many, crowns. This second type produces many secondary stems or branch crowns, unlike the type which produces runners.
Although mentioned as early as 1553, the runnered-type of everbearer was not well known until about 1765, when plants were obtained for the Royal Garden of France from Bargemon in Provence where it grew abundantly in the wild. Seed was also brought from Mt. Cenis in Italy in 1764. The original runnerless type called Bush Alpine or Gaillon strawberry was obtained at Gaillon in 1811 by Labaute. Possible mention of it dates back to 1652. The runnerless type forms large plants which bear berries of larger size than the runnered type. The berries of both types are borne on tall fruit stems well above the leaves (Fig. 11-1). The berries of the runnerless may be quite large for the wood strawberry and vary from blunt-conic to very long conic and may be even more than 1 inch long. Berries of both types are light and spongy, with air spaces throughout the flesh. The berries have little flavor until they are ripe, when the perfume, which differs from that of large-fruited varieties, becomes strong. For full flavor, Hyams (1962) suggests slightly crushing the berries, sprinkling them with sugar, then covering and leaving them for several hours.
Only slight differences exist between early varieties of diploid everbearers and those grown now. A well-known variety selected in Germany is Baron Solemacher and seed of it and others is available in the United States and England. A white variety of it is also known. In France Reine des Vallies and the red Gaillon are two well-known runnerless kinds, and Brilliant and Belle de Meaux are good runnered Alpines. Monstrueuse Caennaise with larger fruit is classed as a runnerless Alpine.
There may not be over fifty acres of the wood strawberry under cultivation in all the world and those fifty acres are mostly in France, northern Italy, and in Austria. One of the largest areas is near Tortoma in northwest Italy where selections of plants from the surrounding hills are grown for the highly flavored fruit for the Milan market (see p. 293). Besides the cultivated areas some fruit is still picked from native wild plants.
In the shortening days and lowering temperatures of late summer and early fall, strawberry plants normally respond by developing flower buds in their crowns. But the ordinary garden strawberry, being an exceedingly variable plant, has, in its development of flower buds, a great range of response to temperature and day length; a range which can be observed in all octoploid species in the wild, quite frequently in F.virginiana in the North, very commonly in F. ovalis, and at least to some extent in F. chiloensis. As a result, examinations during the summer and fall show many wild plants growing in various areas of North America to be in flower, some at one time, some at another. A large percentage of plants of F. ovalis, collected in many parts of the western United States, blossomed throughout the summer and fall when grown in Maryland; some also respond this way at Cheyenne, Wyoming, If the days are artificially shortened to eight hours, varieties like the Missionary initiate some flower buds in quite hot weather in midsummer in eastern United States, while other varieties do not form flower buds with eight hours of light unless the temperatures are much cooler; the Klondike will not form flower buds until October under normal conditions. The so-called everbearing strawberry varieties do not differ in kind from this general sort of response, but only in degree; they normally form flower buds even when days are sixteen or more hours long. The present everbearers grow very little in the short days of winter (Fig. 11-2, Chouard, 1943). In the breeding of everbearers, man has emphasized the character of summer and fall flowering. This character is actually just a specialized sort of response to the effects of temperature and day length, for all varieties can be made to be everbearing under short days and low temperatures; each variety having a certain day length-temperature complex, whether very specific, or relatively broad, at which it succeeds best. Some varieties bred with emphasis on summer and fall blooming give the highest production in the world, under the cool temperatures along the California coast, but in the eastern states they produce only in the usual short season of June. In Europe some everbearing varieties produce all summer, but others are called "two-crop" varieties, for they seem to make no flower buds until after the longest days are past. In Holland growers take advantage of this response of some varieties by artificially shortening the days during the last of May to start new flower bud initiation for a fall crop.
Because so many genes are involved, the pattern of flower and fruit production is extremely variable. The everbearing varieties selected out and named are those that have the best production habit in the mind of the person selecting that variety for his latitude. Among the recent everbearing varieties in the United States, Ozark Beauty was selected in Arkansas for its adaptation to that climate. Although mother plants of this variety produce both runners and fruit freely, the runner plants do not usually produce any fruit the first year, as do those of most other kinds (Fig. 11-3). Other everbearing varieties produce fruit so continuously that few, or no, runners are formed, and the variety is difficult to propagate (Fig. 11-4). The most desirable varieties, besides producing a good crop, have enough vigor to produce a sufficient number of runners and flower buds for that variety's propagation. Runnerless varieties may be raised from seed or by crown division.
A valuable character of the everbearers of the United States and Canada is that they usually are quite hardy. If at any time it happens that their flowers are killed by frost, most varieties recommence flower and fruit production immediately. The American wild everbearing forms have yet to beutilized in the production of cultivated everbearing sorts, so their value is not yet known.
The history of everbearing varieties in the United States is given in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmers' Bulletin 901, first issued in 1917, and as such, the history does not date very far back. Cultivated large-fruited everbearing strawberries have been known for only 75 years and have been important for fifty to sixty years. No European everbearers have become of commercial importance in the United States.
Although the Oregon Everbearing (a supposed seedling of Triomphe originated in 1882 in Oregon) was introduced in 1890, it was not generally successful. Pan American was the first important everbearing variety in the United States. It was selected by Samuel Cooper (Fig. 11-5) of Delevan, New York, from a patch of Bismarck where its unusual characteristics drew his attention to it. Its runners were flowering and fruiting on September 28, 1898. When he planted these apart they continued to flower and fruit throughout the growing season and he introduced the variety as Pan American in 1902. Both he and others who compared plants considered the Pan American to be a mutant of the Bismarck (reported to be Bubach x Van Deman). Van Deman was Crescent x Captain Jack (a supposed seedling of Wilson). Pan American was important especially as a parent. Mr. Cooper later introduced 9 other varieties, all descended from the Pan American, of which the (Superb autumn x Cooper) x Sherman (all Pan American seedling) succeeded best.
Another contributor to the development of everbearing strawberries was Harlow Rockhill (Fig. 11-6), who obtained the Pan American from Cooper in 1904, and in 1908 crossed it with Dunlap to obtain the Progressive, the leading everbearer for many years. Progressive, like Superb, was exceptionally resistant to leaf-spot disease and very hardy, obtaining hardiness from both parents. Later Rockhill introduced the Rockhill (Wazata, Bonanza, Big Sweet, Fig. 11-7) from the cross Early Jersey Giant x Progressive.
Many other fine everbearers have been introduced. Mastodon (Kellogg's Prize x Superb) was from a cross made by G. Voer of Indiana, selected in 1917, and introduced in 1921. Although the least flavorful of well-known everbearers, it was widely grown until recently, because of its disease resistance, large fruit, and free runner production. Twentieth Century, selected in 1926, was from a cross made by T. Kasuga. Gem was introduced in 1933 by Keplinger and reintroduced by him as Superfection (1946) and Brilliant (1951). lt has been the leading everbearing variety since about 1945. Streamliner of unknown parentage, found in 1938 by Edgmond in Oregon and introduced in 1944, has high flavor. Red Rich, bred by M. Hagerstrom and introduced in 1949, has many characteristics of the Rockhill, but seems even more restricted to northern areas. Most of its fruits are tiny at Beltsville, Maryland. Geneva, bred by G. Slate and introduced in 1961 at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, has high flavor, is large but soft.
Recently Ozark Beauty (1955), Arapahoe (1954), Ogallala (1956), and other new everbearers have been grown considerably. Arapahoe, Radiance, and Ogallala resulted from the breeding work at the Cheyenne, Wyo., Horticultural Station. Both Arapaho and Ogallala are extremely hardy even northward into Canada. Glenheart (probably Gem x Rockhill) originated with William Oakes, Manitoba, and was introduced in 1941 for its hardiness. Sparta, Parkland, and jubilee from A.J. Porter, Parkside, Saskatchewan, are other very hardy varieties, of unknown parentage, grown in the Canadian prairie provinces.
In recent years, several privately controlled everbearers, when planted in December in coastal central California near Watsonville, have been found to produce heavy crops the first year, and have become commercially important there.
The shallow root system of the strawberry makes the everbearing sorts, which ripen in mid- and late summer when the transpiration rate is high, especially subject to drought injury. Often before the plants recover from one hot drought period another occurs to check growth and fruit production. The production of fruit over a long period also requires a fertile soil high in nitrogen. Because the flower clusters develop from buds in leaf axils in place of runners, everbearing sorts are shy runner producers. For these reasons everbearers are successful only where the rainfall is ample and the soil is fertile in northern United States and Canada and at high elevations in the Appalachians of North Carolina.
Gem (Plate 11-1a) reported as a bud sport of Champion by F.J. Keplinger of Michigan, introduced in 1933 and reintroduced as Superfection and Brilliant by him. In eastern states soft, rather small, irregular, acid but good flavored; in Great Plains and westward larger fruited. Plant very hardy. A leading everbearer since about 1940.
Rockhill (Wazata), bred by Harlow Rockhill of Iowa, was introduced in 1923, Early Jersey Giant x Progressive. It has excellent flavor, is attractive, plant is very hardy, resistant to leaf spot, makes few runners.
Red Rich (Rockhill x Fairfax), bred by Hagerstrom of Minnesota, introduced 1949. Hardy, excellent flavor, attractive, heavy crops of large to very small berries, resistant to leaf spots and leaf scorch, makes few plants.
Ozark Beauty (Red Rich x Twentieth Century), originated with J.B. Winn of Arkansas. Introduced 1955 for its runner-plant production, attractive, sweet good-flavored berries. Mother plant very productive, runner plants usually produce no berries.
Arapahoe (Cheyenne 1 x Selection 430-2) x (Rockhill x Cheyenne 3) (Selection 430-2 is (F. ovalis x Fairfax) x Fairfax), bred by L. Powers, E.D. Krouch and D.H. Scott, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Introduced in 1954 for its extreme hardiness and drought tolerance. Berries medium size, firm to soft, glossy red, very good flavor. Usually produces many runners.
Ogallala, bred by- L. Powers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cheyenne, Wyoming, selected G. Viehmeyer of North Platte, Nebraska, and introduced in 1958; high flavored, medium to large, very hardy, resistant to leaf spots.
Geneva (NY-316 (Streamliner x Fairfax) x Red Rich), bred by George Slate of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station and introduced in 1961. Fruit large, high flavored, deep red, soft.
Twentieth Century (Berri Supreme x Rockhill), bred by T. Kasuga, Utah, introduced 1932, high flavored.
France. According to Richardson (1914), the first perpetual strawberry, widely known in France was "Gloede's Seedling" (Ananas Perpetual), was introduced in 1866 by F. Gloede. It made an enormous amount of runners, but saw little success. Following this came Mabille (Limoges) and l'Inepuisable (1871), both of which also were not particularly successful. The Abbe Thivolet, a parish priest of Chenoves Seine-et-Loire, was the first to appreciate the possibilities of an everbearing strawberry. First, he raised the Roi Henri, then the Robert Lefort, and Leone III. Finally, in 1893 Abbe Tivolet obtained the St. Joseph, the first true large-fruited everbearer, also known under the names of Constante Feconde, Leone XIII, and Rubicunda. Although it was a true everbearer, as we know them today, and of high flavor, it was small-fruited and not productive by present standards. The Abbe himself was not fully satisfied and later introduced the St. Antoine de Padoue, which was still not productive by present standards. But these varieties did stir the imagination of others and many improved varieties soon followed.
In 1889, Louis Gauthier introduced his white-fruited Louis Gauthier, which might be called a two-crop variety, because it cropped in the fall on its runner plants. He crossed the St. Antoine de Padotie x Louis Gauthier to obtain the Merveille de France, introduced in 1904.
Roland Chapron of Caen obtained the Madame Poincaré (St. Joseph x Lucie Boisselet) in 1930, the very vigorous large-fruited Sans Rivale (General de Castelman x Madame Poincaré) in 1937, in 1938 the Triomphe (St. Fiacre x Madame Poincaré) and in 1950 the Inepuisable with still larger berries of good quality and of great vigor of plant.
Charles Simmen of Montmorency, a breeder of everbearing and non-everbearing strawberries, introduced about 1925 the Geant Simmen (Charles Simmen); in 1931 the Recorde (a non-everbearer x La France Pacifique), a very vigorous variety with high-flavored. dark-red berries. some of largest size; in 1945 the Saint Jean, said to be a cross of the musky moschata with an unknown variety; and recently the Bijou. Chouard (1943) states that the everbearers like Recorde initiate flower buds in shorter time than non-everbearers and require less illumination to start growth.
Other everbearers of some note were St. Claude, by Rivoire, a good flavored variety with berries hidden by its foliage, and the Profusion obtained by Ribichon and introduced in 1946. At present, Sans Rivale of Chapron is generally considered the best everbearer for all France and even for England. It begins fruiting about the same time as Madame Moutot and bears well through the summer and fall. Its berries are large, good flavored, aromatic and a glossy bright Vermillion red when ripe. It sets so heavily that its fruit may be small.
The registration system for both everbearing (remontants) and non-everbearing for all France indicates the value of the different everbearing varieties there at the present time. There were thirty-nine everbearing varieties listed in the register in 1963. Only Sans Rivale is in Class 1, those recommended for all France. Class 2, which includes those with special characteristics, or which are of more local interest, has eight everbearing varieties:
|Geant Franboisé||Saint Claude|
Class 3, which includes varieties for special study has nineteen varieties and class 4, of varieties whose sale is to cease January 22, 1970, has eleven varieties.
Holland. In Holland, everbearing (remontantes) strawberries are grown only by amateur home gardeners. Three varieties, Repita and Revada introduced in 1960 and Elista in 1964, have been bred by Miss Kronenberg of the Horticultural Research Institute at Wageningen. They are productive enough to indicate the possibility of commercial production. The preferred varieties at present are Revada and Macherauchs Dauerernte and are considered better than Sans Rivale.
Germany. The everbearing varieties grown at present in Germany are Macherauchs Dauerernte, Hummi Trisca, Herzbergs Triumph, Ada Herzberg, St. Jean, and the Alpine Riigen, which is more grown than Baron Solemacher. Macherauchs Dauerernte was introduced in 1956 by O. Macherauch, a nurseryman.
In France, varieties have long been known which produce some fruit in the fall on plants that bore in the spring. As far back as 1768, Duchesne recognized a botanical form, bifera (= twice bearing), which was probably the species F. viridis, the green-fruited strawberry. With two-crop varieties, flower buds are initiated in the relatively long and cool days of midsummer in northern Europe, and they continue to develop so that flowers and fruit are produced from late August on to frost. With protection provided by cloches or cold frames, a considerable fall crop can be obtained. The finest of these two-crop varieties in recent years was Auchincruive Climax, which gave a heavy crop in late summer and fall (Plate 11-b). In the 1950's, however, this variety was completely lost because of spring variegation. The new Talisman, of good flavor, and Redgauntlet, of fair flavor, bred by Reid of Scotland, are also fall-fruiting. The Early Cambridge originated by Sir Rowland Biffin of England and of French origin, the Abundance of Louis Gauthier, Victorie of Maillochon and Liberation d'Orleans of M. Joly, all have good quality and the fall-fruiting characteristics. Abundance (Constante Fecunde, apparently the St. Joseph x Louis Gauthier) is an early-ripening sort originated by Louis Gauthier in 1905. It or a variety under that name is notable for its great hardiness in Scandinavia. Fruit rot under the cool temperatures of fall is one of the more serious troubles of fall-fruiting production.