strawberry the fruit of plants of the genus Fragaria, is a symbol of the Virgin Mary and also of summer and of the delights of summer fruit. As Andrew Boorde (1542, also ed. Furnivall, 1870) put it: ‘Rawe crayme undecocted, eaten with strawberys or hurtes [whortleberry, bilberry, etc.] is a rural mannes banket.’
However, Boorde’s strawberries were far removed from the fruits grown today (and still eaten with cream). In fact, the kinds of strawberry cultivated now date back only to the 17th century, as explained below.