Strawberries are native to North America and Europe, having grown wild in both areas for centuries. Related to roses, they grow on thin stems, in clusters of leaves, fruit and flowers. The plants also produce runners, which causes the plants to spread.
Perennial plants that do not need to be replanted each year, strawberries are not actually berries. Rather, each "berry" contains many small fruits, or the "seeds" of the strawberry. Gathered from the wild for centuries, European farmers first grew them during the 1200s A.D., and by the 1600s, Native Americans were growing them in North America. As of 2014, strawberries are grown on both sides of the equator, and though they do well in a wide variety of climates, they generally prefer cooler weather. They also take to multiple kinds of soils as well.
Most of the strawberries in supermarkets come from two North American species: Fragaria virginiana and Fragaria chiloensis; however, a small French species of strawberries, which is still wild, is considered to be more flavorful. About 80 percent of strawberries in the United States are grown in California. Across the globe, a wide variety of species are grown, with specialized species in each area.