Blitum VirgatumStrawberry Blite
- Class and Order
- Monandria Digynia
- Generic Character
- Col. 3-fidus. Petala O. Sem. 1. calyce baccato.
- Specific Character and Synonyms
- BLITUM virgatum capitellis sparsis lateralibus. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 53. Ait. Kew. v. 1. p. 7
- ATRIPLEX sylvestris mori fructu. Bauh. Pin. p. 519
- ATRIPLEX sylvestris baccifera. Clus. Hist. cxxxv.
This plant, not unfrequently met with in gardens, is known to most cultivators by the name of Strawberry Spinach; the leaves somewhat resembling those of the latter, and the fruit that of the former: C. Bauhine likens its berries to those of the Mulberry, to which they certainly bear a greater resemblance: in most of the species of this genus the calyx exhibits a very singular phenomenon, when the flowering is over, it increases in size, becomes fleshy, and finally pulpy, containing the ripe seed, which however it does not wholly envelope; thus from each cluster of flowers growing in the alæ of the leaves are produced so many berries, of a charming red colour, to which the plant owes its beauty altogether, for the flowers are small, herbaceous, and not distinctly visible to the naked eye; they can boast however of being of the first class in the Linnean system Monandria, to which few belong.
Strawberry Blite is a hardy annual, growing spontaneously in some parts of France, Spain, and Tartary; is not a very old inhabitant of our gardens, Mr. Aiton mentioning it as being first cultivated by Mr. Miller in 1759. Its berries are produced from June to September; in their taste they have nothing to recommend them, though not pleasant they are harmless.
Clusius we believe to be the first author who gives a figure and description of it.
It affects a dry soil, and open situation; in such there is no necessity to give any particular directions for its cultivation, as it comes up readily from seed spontaneously scattered, so much so as sometimes to prove a troublesome weed.