Education - Plants

Wood Strawberry LeafWood Strawberry
(Fragaria vesca)

Kingdom:  Plantae
Division:  Magnoliophyta
Class:  Magnoliopsida
Order:  Rosales
Family:  Rosacae
Genus:  Fragaria
Species:  F. vesca


Wood Strawberry FlowerCharacteristics: Wood Strawberry plants are 3 to 6 inches in height. They spread by runners. Flowers are white to yellow with five broad petals, and numerous green-yellow stamens, appearing May through August. The fruit appears soon after flowering and is a red berry, which is much smaller in size than our moderngrocery store variety. Its seeds are located on the surface of the fruit, rather than embedded in the skin. The stems and leaves are slightly hairy. The leaves are compound with 3 coarsely toothed leaflets that narrow and are slightly tapered toward the tip.

Habitat: Wood Strawberry grows well in dry to moist open woods, stream banks, pastures, and old fields.

Range: It is found throughout most of North America except for the southeastern United States.

Wood Strawberry BerryNative American Uses: Wood Strawberry was used to treat colds. It was also used as a disinfectant, an oral aid, and a pediatric aid. In addition, the fresh fruit was eaten and tea was made from the leaves. The Chippewa, Dakota, and Iroquois are among the Native American tribes that utilized this species.

Colonial Uses: The leaves contain high quantities of vitamin C. Minutemen from the American Revolution were saved from scurvy by drinking a tea made from the fresh green foliage of the wild Strawberry. In addition, they would eat the fruit fresh, collect and dry some for winter use, or allow it to ferment into a wine or vinegar.

Modern Uses: Today they are not widely consumed, but can be made into preserves or used in baking.

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