A bittersweet storyThe first domesticated strawberry species in Europe was Fragaria vesca. Romans and Greeks cultivated it in their gardens and, in 1300, this crop was spread through Europe. By 1600 another species, Fragaria virginiana, from Canada, was the lead crop. Fragaria virginiana was probably brought to Europe by Jacques Cartier, a French navigator and explorer. In 1700, another species, Fragaria chiloensis was brought by Captain Amedee Frézier.
This species was domesticated in Chile for over 1000 years by the Mapuche people, and was widely distributed by the Spanish during colonization. Seedlings with large fruit and distinctive morphology appeared in the gardens of Britain after F. chiloensis was brought to France.
Although the origin of these plants was initially mysterious, it is known that the French botanist Nicolas Duchesne determined 1766 that in fact this variety was a hybrid of F. chiloensis x F. virginiana, and named it Fragaria x ananassa after stating that the scent of the fruit was similar to pineapple (Ananas).
The first hybrids of 'Pineapple' or 'Pino' strawberry may have been selected in commercial farms of Britain and botanical gardens throughout Europe.
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