Naturalist’s Corner – Woodland Strawberries!

Naturalist’s Corner – Woodland Strawberries!

Posted June 3, 2020

Written by Kyla Isakson

Photo of Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) with flowers.

Woodland strawberries (Fragaria vesca) are small perennial plants that are part of the Rose family. This species of strawberry is native to most of the United States and all of Canada, and it typically produces white flowers between April and June, followed by small fruits. Virginia strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), also known as wild or common strawberries, are closely related to woodland strawberries, and they produce white flowers as well. To differentiate these two species, look at their leaves and fruit. Woodland strawberries have rounder leaves and cone shaped fruit, and Virginia strawberries have narrow leaves and round fruits.

Similar to the woodland and wild strawberries, barren strawberries (Geum fragarioides) are native to Massachusetts. According to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, barren strawberries are of special concern in Massachusetts. Between May and mid-June, barren strawberries produce small yellow flowers, which then produce 2 to 6 dry, single-seeded fruits known as achenes. The achenes are what is commonly considered the seeds of a strawberry; however, the fleshy part of the strawberry that we typically eat is known as the accessory fruit, which is the floral receptacle that holds the true fruit.

*Note: As a good rule of thumb, you should not eat any plants or fruits unless you can confirm the species. We discourage members of the community from consuming anything found on our properties or in your yard if you cannot thoroughly identify it. Use your best judgement and be safe.

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