Fragaria 'Mara des Bois'
Common Name: wild strawberry
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: White with yellow center
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Culture

Best grown in humusy, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun. Plants spread indefinitely by runners that root as they go. Plants generally dislike high summer heat, humidity and strong drying winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Genus name comes from Latin meaning fragrant in reference to the smell of the fruit.

'Mara des Bois' was hybridized in Soings En Sologne France in 1991 by strawberry breeder Jacques Marionnet in a planned breeding program involving a cross of (F. 'Gento' x F. 'Osara') x (F. 'Red Gauntlet' x F. 'Korona'). It is a remontant (everbearing) variety that produces fruit in summer to early fall in the first year, but in subsequent years produces a heavy spring crop with continued production throughout the growing season. Plants typically grow to 12-15" tall and spread to 12-24" wide. Conical red berries are plump, fragrant, sweet and exceedingly tasty. Five-petaled white flowers with yellow centers appear throughout the growing season on stems clad with tri-foliate green leaves. Flowers are followed by edible, bright red strawberries (to 1” long) that may be harvested throughout summer. Berries are small to medium (acorn size), which puts them in the category of being much smaller than most commercially grown berries but larger and firmer than tiny wild strawberries. U. S. Plant Patent PP8,517 was issued on December 28, 1993. This patent expires in September of 2011.

Problems

Strawberries are susceptible to a number of fungal diseases including anthracnose, leaf spots, rots, wilts, powdery mildew and blights. Insect visitors include spider mites and aphids. Leaf scorch may occur in hot summer climates.

Garden Uses

May be grown in beds or containers (strawberry jars). By reputation, 'Mara des Bois' has the best flavor and fragrance of any strawberry currently in cultivation. Unfortunately, picked berries have a shelf life of only 5 days which is fine for home production or for local sales, but way too short a time for commercial production and shipment.