The Hidden Half

Alpine Strawberry

Wild alpine strawberry, Fragaria vesca, is one of 20 different strawberry species. The most common strawberry found in the supermarket is a cross between two species, Fragaria and Ananassa, typically known as the garden strawberry.

The alpine strawberry was cultivated widely across Europe and the Far East but has mainly been replaced by the much larger garden strawberry. The strawberry is technically not a berry as the fleshy part is not derived from the plant's ovaries. The small ‘achene’, which look like seeds stuck on the outside of the strawberry, are actually fruits.

Image showing the root structure of an alpine strawberry plant.

The strawberry's root system has one main tap root and many branched roots developing from it. This root system clearly displays how some roots respond differently to gravity. The main tap root grows directly down, to reach deep wetter soil, whilst the secondary branches grow horizontally, to forage for nutrients distributed throughout the soil.

3D Root Architecture

This video shows the root development of a young alpine wild strawberry plant grown for 20 days. Within the soil column the roots are structured around one main taproot with many secondary and lateral roots developing from this structure.

Root Anatomy

The image to the left is a partial cross section, through the middle of an alpine strawberry primary root. The image was acquired using a confocal microscope.

Alpine Strawberry cross section showing cell structure of the root.


The Hidden Half

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University of Nottingham
Loughborough, Leics, U.K.
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