Wild Strawberry, Fragaria  virginiana

Wild Strawberry

Fragaria virginiana

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Spring
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Dry
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: .25 - .5 inches
Spacing: 1 foot


Description

Wild Strawberry, (Fragaria virginiana) is a ground-hugging herbaceous perennial that typically grows to 4-7 inches tall but spreads indefinitely by runners (stolons) which root to form new plants as they sprawl along the ground, often forming large colonies over time. It is native to woodland openings, meadows, prairies, limestone glades and cleared areas including roadsides. Each trifoliate leaf has three coarsely toothed leaflets with each leaf appearing on a slender stalk Five-petaled white flowers with numerous yellow-anthered center stamens bloom in April-May in flat umbel-like clusters (4-6 flowers each) located separate from and below the leaves on stalks that do not exceed the length of the leaf stalk. Flowers give way to achene-dotted ovoid fruits (strawberries) which mature to red in a much smaller than fruits produced by cultivated strawberry plants. Seeds are embedded in the pits of the strawberries. Wild strawberries have a sweet tart flavor. Botanically, the achenes are the true fruits and the red strawberries are actually false fruits (enlarged flower receptacles).

The root system consists of a shallow crown with fibrous roots. After the production of flowers and fruits, hairy above-ground stolons up to 2 foot long may develop from the crown. When the tips of these stolons touch the ground, they often form plantlets that take root. In this manner, clonal colonies of plants often develop.

These plants are easily grown in fertile, moist to dry-mesic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers organically rich, sandy loams. This is a cool-season perennial that grows best in spring and fall. After setting fruit, plants may slow down or go dormant in hot summer months. Plants flower reliably in spring, but the subsequent appearance of fruit is dependent upon climatic conditions. Plants spread indefinitely by runners that root as they sprawl along the ground. Plants generally dislike high summer heat, humidity and strong drying winds. Propagate from runners.

Habitats include black soil prairies, hill prairies, bluegrass meadows, small meadows in wooded areas, open woodlands, woodland borders, savannas, limestone glades, roadsides, and areas along railroads. Wild Strawberry is able to tolerate competition from taller plants because it develops early in the spring, and it is able to tolerate some shade later in the year. This plant occurs in both degraded and high quality habitats, often not far from wooded areas.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Erosion control on slopes.
  Fruits are quite small but very tasty and may be eaten fresh off the vine.
Further Information

Wisconsin Fruit Trees
Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
8 Dandelion Recipes
Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries