Wild Strawberry

Ojibway: Ode’iminidjiibik
Latin: Fragaria virginiana Miller.
Wild-Strawberry-1

Common Names

  • Virginia Strawberry
  • Heart berry
  • Scarlet strawberry
Description

This low perennial forms runners and produces several small, white flowers and long-stalked, 3-parted basal leaves.

Flowers

2 cm (3/4 in.) wide; five sepals, five petals, many numerous pistils on a dome-like structure; April to June.

Leaves
Wild-Strawberry-2

Leaflets 2.5-3.8 cm (1-1 1/2 in.) long, toothed, and with hairy stalks.

Fruit

Dry, seed-like, sunken within enlarged, fleshy cone–the “strawberry.”

Height

Creeper, with flower stalks 7.5-15 cm (3-6 in.) high.

Habitat

Open fields, edges of woods.

Range

Throughout North America, except Arctic islands.

Discussion

Found in patches in fields and dry openings, this plant produces the finest, sweetest, wild strawberry. The edible portion of the strawberry is actually the central portion of the flower, which enlarges greatly with maturity and is covered with the embedded, dried, seed-like fruit. Cultivated strawberries are hybrids developed from this native species and the South American one. A tea from the leaves may stimulate appetite. It is also used as a medicine and to treat cholera. Traditionally, unripe strawberries were picked at the beginning of a women’s fast. The fast would take place for ten days, and when it was complete the strawberries would be eaten to replenish their bodies. Strawberries are the first summer fruit and signify the new season.