Supervisory Research Horticulturist
Dr. Kim Hummer, Research Leader and Small Fruit Curator at the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon, recently discovered a new wild strawberry species in the high peaks of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. She named the new species Fragaria cascadensis.The species description was published in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. The new strawberry is endemic to the western Cascades. It is perennial, with white flowers and green leaves. It differs from other strawberry species of Oregon by having hairs on the upper side of its leaves, a different-shaped middle leaflet, comma-shaped, small brown achenes on the strawberry fruit surface, and 10 sets of chromosomes, unlike the 8 sets of chromosomes of the commercial strawberry. The new strawberry species begins growing after snowmelt in late May or early June and flowers in early July. Runner production begins after flowering, and fruit ripens during August for about 2 weeks. The fruits of plants at about 5,000 feet elevation ripen 1 to 2 weeks later than those at 3,280 feet. The strawberry's distribution in the western Cascades stretches from the Columbia River in the north to the vicinity of Crater Lake in the south, at elevations of about 3,000 feet up to tree line. This new strawberry is now included in the living collections of the Corvallis repository, which is a genebank that preserves invaluable plant genetic resources of temperate fruit, nut, and agronomic crops.