Fragaria virginiana Duchn. - Wild Strawberry

Fragaria virginiana plant

Family - Rosaceae

Stems - Acaulescent. Leaves and inflorescences from short crown. Plants stoloniferous and rhizomatous.

Leaves - Basal, trifoliolate, petiolate, stipulate. Stipules acute, 2cm long, 5-6mm broad, glabrous except for villous midvein. Petioles to +16cm long, pilose or with appressed pubescence. Leaflets lance-ovate to obovate, glabrous above, sericeous below, to -5cm long, +/-2.6cm broad, serrate-dentate on upper portion of margins, entire near base. Terminal leaflet on slightly longer petiolule than lateral leaflets. Lateral leaflets oblique at base.

Fragaria virginiana leaf

Inflorescence - Open corymbiform cluster. Peduncle to 15cm long, pilose. Pedicels pilose or with appressed pubescence, to 1.3cm long.

Flowers - Petals 5, white, to 8mm long, 5.5mm broad, glabrous, orbicular to broadly obovate, spreading. Stamens many(+20), borne at edge of receptacle. Filaments 1.5mm long, yellow, glabrous. Anthers yellow. Pistils many. Hypanthium broadly conic, 2mm tall(long). sericeous. Bracts 5, linear, to +/-5mm long, 1.2mm broad, sericeous, alternating with sepals. Sepals acuminate, +/-5mm long, 2.2mm broad at base, sericeous. Fruit red, accessory, with many small achenes on surface, to +/-1.5cm long, a strawberry for goodness sakes.

Fragaria virginiana hypanthiumHypanthium.

Fragaria virginiana flowers

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Open slopes, prairies, rocky open ground, open woods, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - What else can I say? It's a strawberry plant, plain and simple. The strawberries you buy in the store, (F. x ananassa), are hybrids of this species and F. chiloensis (L.) Duchn. from Europe. The European strawberries have the size but no flavor and our plants have the taste but no size. The hybrid typically has both.
F. virginiana has smaller flowers than the hybrid plants, which occasionally escape cultivation in our area. The leaves of F. virginiana are typically trifoliolate but sometimes have a an extra pair of reduced leaflets also.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 4-7-00 and in Brown Summit, NC., 4-24-03.


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