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Fragaria vesca

Fragaria vesca L.

 

Alpine Strawberry, White Strawberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderRosalesRose family and eight others
FamilyRosaceaeIncludes apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, almonds, roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns; many others
GenusFragariaFrom the Latin fraga, “strawberry,” which derives from fragum, “fragrant,” from the fragrance of the fruit
Speciesvesca“Little”

About plant names...

Wild strawberries are common worldwide, throughout the northern hemisphere, in a wide range of habitats. They are members of the rose family.

Identification: Wild strawberries have the characteristic shape and outer “seeds” of their cultivated brethren, but they are much smaller: up to ⅜" (1 cm). And they may not be red in color. All strawberries go from green to white before ripening to red, but some wild strawberries lack a protein called Fra a1, which is necessary for them to turn red. White strawberries that look and feel ripe probably are. Regardless of berry color, wild strawberries are dotted with tiny “seeds,” called achenes. The achenes are actually tiny berries, each containing a thin fruity outer pulp and a large seed. Plants are low-growing, typically 3-6" (7.6-15 cm) tall. Leaves occur in groups of three; each leaflet is ½-2½" (1.5-6.3 cm) long. Flowers are white, about ½" (1.5 cm) across.

Wild strawberries are similar to common strawberries, and look a little like distantly related mock strawberries and barren strawberries. If the flowers are light pink or hot pink, you probably have a cultivated variety:

 

Fragaria vesca (Alpine Strawberry, White Strawberry)

Though usually red, some varieties produce white fruits. · 6/20/2010 · Stan and Connie Kent, Falmouth, ME · By Constance B. Kent

 
Duchesnea indica

Fragaria ‘Red Ruby’
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Fragaria vesca
Common Name

Mock Strawberry

Ornamental Strawberry

Alpine Strawberry
Plant Plants are 2-5" (5-12 cm) high. About 5" (12 cm) high and 12-24" (30-60 cm) around. Plants are low-growing, typically 3-6" (7.6-15 cm) tall.
Flowers Flowers are yellow, with five petals, about ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) in diameter. They flower from April to August. Deep pink, about ¼-¾" (8.3-19 mm) in diameter, with five petals. Flowers are white, about ½" (1.5 cm) across.
Leaves Leaves are in groups of three, dark green, heavily veined beneath, with rounded teeth. They are oval to elliptic, ¾-3" (1.9-7.6 cm) × ¼-1½" (8.5-38 mm), and hairy. Dark green, in groups of three, glossy. Leaves occur in groups of three; each leaflet is ½-2½" (1.5-6.3 cm) long.
Fruit Red berries are ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) in diameter, more spherical than strawberry-like in shape. The seedlike achenes on the berry are prominently raised, making the fruit resemble a tiny land mine. Occasionally produces fruit. Up to ⅜" (1 cm) across. Red or white in color.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 5-8

Habitats   Sun to light shade; well-drained soil  
Type Wild Cultivar Wild

 

 
Fragaria virginiana

Fragaria ×ananassa ssp. ananassa

Waldsteinia fragarioides
Common Name

Common Strawberry

Strawberry

Barren Strawberry
Plant 2-4" (5-10 cm) high. 4-8" (10-20 cm) high. 3-8" (7.6-20 cm) high
Flowers White flowers with yellow centers, about ½" (1.3 cm) around. Flowers remain at the level of the leaves. Most have white flowers, though some are pink; flowers have five rounded petals. Yellow, on a leafless stalk, with five petals, ¼-¾" (8.4-19 mm) around, blooms April-May.
Leaves Leaf stalks up to 6" (15 cm) long bear groups of three leaves. Each leaf is oval in shape, with a serrated edge, about ¾-1½" (1.9-3.8 cm) long. Leaves occur in groups of three. They are fairly rounded in shape, edged with rounded teeth. Near the base of the plant, three-lobed, with rounded teeth and shallow lobes. Each leaflet is narrow at the base, widening to rounded ends.
Fruit Berries are red, about ½" (1.3 cm) in diameter. Seeds are embedded in the berry. Sepals point outward. Fruits become white, then red, up to 1½" (3.8 cm) in size. Dry, inconspicuous seeds.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 5-9

Habitats Fields, prairies, woodland edges   Pine forests, clearings
Type Wild Wild Wild

 

Edibility: Wild strawberries were the first variety to be cultivated and sold. They are delicious, much more flavorful than today’s cultivated varieties. Eat them raw, prepare jams, or use them anywhere you would use grocery store strawberries. The dried leaves make a tasty tea.

Online References:

Fragaria vesca on ookaboo.com

Fragaria vesca on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Fragaria vesca on CalPhotos

Fragaria vesca on Bjørn Rørslett/NN's Nature Photography site

Fragaria vesca on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

References:

Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 30.

Fragaria vesca description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 Oct 2013.

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Range:

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