Strawberry, Wild
Name: Strawberry, Wild

Botanical Name: Fragaria virginiana Duchesne

Form: Vine

Parts Used: Berries, greens & leafs

Getting Started

Strawberries—being vines—are frequently described as ‘invasive’ which sounds bad. But it is the nature of strawberries to form spreading carpets! There are four different “things-called-strawberries” in my area. Three are natives but only the two Fragaria species are true strawberries.

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Fragaria (Strawberry Genus)

Key Features to Look For
In addition to the identification guide of your choice, here are a couple of features you should see on wild strawberry:

Low-growing plants that carpet the ground with runner vines that grow and put down roots at nodes along the vine
The vine stems are stiff, reddish and hairy
Flowers have five white round petals with yellow centers
Leaves are in threes, hairy and coarsely-toothed
Red berries are round with seeds embedded in the surface and look very similar to grocery store strawberries
Risks: None noted.

Flower Description: The flowers have five white regular, roundish petals around the yellow center. The stamens emerging from the center are large and yellow. The flower has its own stalk with no leaves and do not grow higher than the plane of the leaves.

Leaf Description: A leaf consists of three leaflets. Each leaflet is coarsely toothed. The stems of the leaves are hairy, as are the surface and undersides of the leaves, to some extent.

Fruit Size: Strawberries are round and look just like grocery store strawberries, though slightly smaller. Seeds are embedded in the surface of the berry. Strawberries are ripe when they are red.

How to Store Strawberries: When berries are red they are ripe to pick. This is a fragile fruit that is best used right away. Commercial berry containers are great for storing fruit because the rigid plastic keeps the fruit from getting crushed and they also have small holes in them that control the humidity in the container. This slows the fruit from drying out too quickly but allows air circulation to reduce molding.

Keep strawberries in re-used commercial berry containers in the refrigerator for at least one to two weeks and potentially longer.

DO NOT WASH THE FRUIT until you are ready to use it. And strawberries-being such a juicy, fragile fruit, turn to mush if frozen.

Harvesting Strawberry Greens
If you choose to, use a commercial vegetable cleaner or a ¼ cup of vinegar added to wash water as a cleaner. Submerge the plant material and swish it around to remove all dirt from leaves. Rinse in clean water. Always wash greens; you never know what might be on them…like animal feces or urine. Place in a colander or salad spinner to drain, then lay out a towel and spread the greens on the towel and roll up the towel. Unroll and transfer the damp greens to storage.

For storage, there are a couple of different possible container methods. If the greens will be used quickly within days, place the towel-rolled damp greens in a 1-gallon zip-lock baggie with 12-15 holes cut in it to provide air and keep the greens from molding (or reuse commercial grape bags with holes). Label the bag with the plant name and which animals it should be used for. Keep container in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.

Many greens are very sensitive to exposure to ethylene gas, though greens themselves are low emitters of the gas. You may get longer quality by adding a product that reduces free ethylene gas in the refrigerator. Greens are good until they become dry and crispy, fade in color, or become slimy or moldy.

Comparing Different “Things-Called-Strawberries”
wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana Duchesne)

a true strawberry
this is the one that animals love to eat and is basis of the domestic strawberry hybrids we humans love, too
white, 5-petalled flowers
vine has runners
Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

also a true strawberry
somewhat smaller than the Virginia strawberry, otherwise much the same. Also eaten by many animals
white, 5-petalled flowers are usually on stems that stick up higher than the leaves
vine has runners

Mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica also known as Potentilla indica)

not a real strawberry, edible but tasteless
one single yellow flower per stem
pointed green sepals stick out from between the yellow flower petals
vine has runners
berry is juicy
this fruit is reportedly eaten by eastern box turtles. For some reason, I had it in my head that cottontails eat mock strawberry greens so I collected it and offered it to the rehab rabbits I forage for. They ate it in captivity, but they may or may not eat it in the wild.
Barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides also known as Geum fragarioides)



Strawberry, Wild
Name: Strawberry, Wild

Botanical Name: Fragaria virginiana Duchesne

Form: Vine

Parts Used: Berries, greens & leafs

Getting Started


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