Wild Strawberry Identification – Fragaria vesca

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the plant’s main parts – its leaves, flowers, fruits, and more – all with key identification features.

The Wild Strawberry, also known as the American Wood Strawberry, is a native plant in North America. The Wild Strawberry belongs to the Rosaceae family. That’s the Rose family. These strawberries prefer slightly shady to shady spots, so you’re more likely to find them in woods or thickets where there’s cover from direct sunlight. They like soil that’s average to moist. These aren’t tall plants. They only grow about 6 to 12 inches high, so you’ll be looking down a lot if you’re on a strawberry hunt.

Wild Strawberry: Key Parts in Photos

How to identify Wild Strawberry

The flowers of the Wild Strawberry might be small, but they’re distinct. They’re usually less than half an inch wide. What you’re looking for are white flowers with five round or oval petals. In the middle, they have about 20 yellow stamens. Around these, you’ll see sharply pointed structures longer or just as long as the petals; these are called sepals. They protect the flowers.

The leaves are at the base of the plant and come in groups of three. That’s a feature called ‘palmately compound’. ‘Palmate’ because the layout looks like an open hand. Each leaflet is about 1 inches long. These are coarsely toothed. The leaflets are nearly hairless on top, and if you look closely, you can see veins on them. They’re broad at the top (oval to egg-shaped) and narrow down like a funnel towards where they attach. These leaflets directly attach to the main leaf stem. The plant also has stems called ‘runners’ or ‘stolons’ that creep along the ground. They root at their tips and then, from those rooted tips, fresh leaves pop up.

The fruits of the Wild Strawberry are small, red berries, shaped like tiny eggs or cones. If you look closely, you’ll see tiny seeds on their surface. These seeds are called ‘achenes’. It’s not the juicy part that’s the real fruit but these tiny seeds. These strawberries are edible and super delicious.

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