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


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers organically rich, sandy loams. Strawberries are a high maintenance fruit crop which can be grown all over the United States. Growing recommendations can vary considerably depending upon the climate, however, and varieties are often regionally adapted. Grow only certified disease-resistant cultivars. University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia publishes a pamphlet called "Home Fruit Production: Strawberries and Their Culture" (G 6135) which provides some basic information on growing strawberries in Missouri and is available for inspection or purchase at the Center for Home Gardening.

Plants generally dislike high summer heat, humidity and strong drying winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Strawberries are a mainstay of the home fruit garden and are grouped into Junebearing and everbearing types. Junebearers produce one crop per year early in the season (typically June). The berries of Junebearers are normally larger than the berries produced by everbearing or day-neutral plants. They are sensitive to the length of day, and send out runners in spring as day length increases. Everbearing types produce a first crop in spring and then subsequent crops at six week intervals thereafter throughout the summer and into fall. Unlike junebearers, everbearers are not sensitive to the length of day. Both have five-petaled, white flowers with yellow centers. Flowers give way to large, glossy, red berries which mature in late spring to early summer. Some strawberries are grown for their showy flowers rather than their fruits and the flowers can range in color from deep, reddish-fuchsia to rose pink to white.

Genus name comes from the Latin word fraga meaning strawberry presumably from fragrans meaning fragrant in reference to the perfume 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. 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.


Strawberries are susceptible to a large number of potential diseases, including but not limited to: foliage diseases (leaf spot, scorch), root rots (red stele, black root rot), fruit rots (anthracnose, leather rot), gray mold and viruses. Tarnished plant bugs, mites, aphids, leafrollers, slugs, nematodes and strawberry weevils are occasional insect problems.


Strawberries have little special ornamental value and are usually grown as a fruit crop in a specific area set aside for the same.

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.