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Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Identification

Wild Strawberry / Spring / Summer / Edible

A common sight in woodlands and parks. It’s a native perennial plant that’s really easy to identify.


Common Names

Wild Strawberry, Woodland Strawberry, Alpine strawberry, Carpathian strawberry, European strawberry.


Botanical Name

Fragaria vesca


Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae

Order – Rosales

Family – Rosaceae


Physical Characteristics for Wild Strawberry

Leaves

The leaves are simple with three lobes, the leaves are wrinkled and have toothed edges.

Dmitry Makeev, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Flowers

The flowers are white and between 5-12 flowers grow on a long, hairy stalk. The flowers have 5 petals and between each petal you can you the leaf bract.

C T Johansson, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Fruits

The fruits are green when young but soon develop into rich red berries, that have their seeds on the outside and they look like strawberries! All be it smaller than cultivated varieties.

Ural-66, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Habitat

They are most often on damp, shady ground in woodlands or hedgerows.


Known Hazards

Care should be taken as the fruits and leaves can have a negative effect on the skin, gastrointestinal system or respiratory system of a very small number of individuals.


Could be Confused with…

It’s a really easy and safe plant for beginners. If they look like miniature strawberries and you’re in a woodland, you’re probably looking at Wild Strawberries.


Edible Uses

Use as you would store bought strawberries, they’re delicious on their own or use them for jams and sauces. What they lack in size they make up for in flavour.

The leaves can be used to make a really simple tea, just steep a few in boiling water for 5 minutes.


Notes on Herbal Uses

The fruits are high in vitamins B, C and E and they contain salicylic acid which is beneficial in the treatment of liver and kidney complaints, as well as in the treatment of rheumatism and gout.

The plant was used in the past to make creams and lotion to whiten skin and remove freckles.

It was also used as a traditional remedy due to its laxative and diuretic properties. Teas made from the leaves are used to treat digestive upsets and urinary complaints.

A simple remedy for sunburn is to place slices of strawberry on the skin, it’s cooling and soothing.


Extra notes from the Foragers

The red, fleshy part of the strawberry plant that we call the ‘fruit’ is actually receptacle tissue, and the ‘seeds’ embedded on the outside of this tissue are the true fruits.

Once very wide spread through the UK, it is now classed as near threatened in England due to changes in land use and the loss of habitat.


Resources

From the Woodland Trust

Deatils from the RHS

More from British Local & Wild

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