Notice

Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Fragaria x ananassa ‘British Queen’

A cultivar of Fragaria x ananassa Duchesne. ‘Fruit large, sometimes very large, roundish, flattened, and cockscomb shaped, the smaller fruit ovate or conical. Skin pale red, colouring unequally, being frequently white or greenish-white at the apex. Flesh white, firm, juicy, and with a remarkably rich and exquisite flavour.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.267/1860].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘British Queen’ was bred by Joseph Myatt, of Manor Farm, Deptford, Kent, in 1841. In the early 19th century unscrupulous growers and breeders were quite prepared to take advantage of the success of others, and pass off their inferior varieties as the produce of a successful grower. Myatt inserted a notice in The Gardeners Chronicle of February 5th, 1845, disclaiming certain strawberries: ‘These are the only varieties that I have offered to the public’, and listed Myatt’s Pine, 1832; Eliza, 1836; British Queen, 1841; Prince Albert, 1842; and Deptford Pine, 1843.

‘British Queen’ attracted considerable attention as the first of the large-fruited hybrids. A number of claims of extremely large fruit were made in The Gardeners Chronicle, the biggest being a fruit of two and a half ounces, with a circumference of nine and a half inches, reported on the 13th of September, 1845. The hybrid origin of this strawberry, with Fragaria chiloensis prominent, is clearly seen in Hogg’s description.

‘British Queen’ is figured as a line drawing in the American publication The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste [vol.7, p.363/1852]. ‘This is perhaps the most famous strawberry ever raised in England, and has been very widely grown there, where it is a favorite market berry. Unfortunately, it does not come to full perfection here; and it is not only tender, but very capricious in its choice of soils. It is the parent of many excellent kinds. Fruit of the largest size, roundish, slightly conical, rich scarlet; flesh pure white, and of the highest flavor. Forces admirably.’ It is also figured in the Belgian publication Album de Pomologie, [ADP vol.3, p.20/1850], the illustration used here. The strawberries shown give little idea of the, then, extraordinary size of the fruits.

History at Camden Park

Listed in an Addendum to the 1857 catalogue as ‘Myatt’s British Queen’ [Strawberry no.5/1857].

Notes

See Fragaria x ananassa Duchesne for the early history of the strawberry and background to this variety.

Published Jun 06, 2010 - 02:44 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 02:38 PM

2 strawberries are figured, 1 with a pinkish fruit the other red-fruited. Album de Pomologie, vol. 3, p.20, 1850.

Fragaria x ananassa ‘British Queen’ | ADP, vol. 3, p.20/1850 | image from pomologie.ub.tu-berlin.de

Family Rosaceae
Category
Region of origin

Garden origin, England

Synonyms
  • Myatt’s British Queen
Common Name

Strawberry, Hybrid Strawberry, Large-Fruited Strawberry

Name in the Camden Park Record

Myatt’s British Queen 

Confidence level

high