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Wild strawberry - Fragaria vesca

Wild strawberry (Fragraria vesca) ripening on the plant

Edible plant - novice Season - summer Common names wild strawberry, Alpine strawberry, woodland strawberry, Carpathian strawberry, European strawberry

Scientific name meaning: The genus name is derived from the Latin Fragrum, however there is some debate over the origin of this word. One possibility is that it means berry. Vesca is also Latin, from Vescus, meaning small or little


Habitat of Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

The natural habitat of the wild strawberry is woodlands, scrubland and waste ground so it is well suited to gravelly garden paths, the base of walls and rockeries.

Overall structure

Wild strawberry (Fragraria vesca) overall structure

A small plant reaching a maximum height of 30cm but usually much smaller. Produces runners and forms dense mats of numerous plants.


The leaves of Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

The oval, bright-green leaves of the wild strawberry are tri-foliate (three leaflets), hairy, toothed and have long stems. Each leaflet is 1-6cm long and has little to no stem. The terminal tooth is longer than the two either side of it.

Stems and runners

The stem of Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

The flower stems are thin and hairy. They are green with patches of purple. It also produces think green runners, which also arch over with the weight of the small new plants they form.


The flower of Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

The five-petalled flowers are white and between 12 and 18mm in diameter. The petals are longer than the sepals and the reproductive parts are yellow.


The fruit of Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

The small red fruits, which have seeds on the outside, look like miniatures of cultivated strawberries. The ripen from June through to August and are 1-2cm long.

Possible lookalikes

Barren strawberries

Could be mistaken for the barren strawberry (Potentills sterilis). However, P sterilis' sepals can be clearly seen through, and are longer than, the petals. Also, the terminal leaflet tooth is equal or shorter in length to those either side. It does not have fleshy fruit. The mock strawberry (Potentilla indica) does have fruit but they point up, rather than hang down. The fruit is edible but flavourless.

Use as a food The berries can be eaten raw when ripe and have a rich flavour. They can be used to make preserves but their small size means a lot are required for most recipes. Getting to them before the birds and small mammals can be a challenge Hazards None known at time of writing

Use in herbal medicine and medicine Has been used to treat both diarrhoea and constipation, as well as rheumatism. Has diuretic and astringent properties If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner Other uses Garden ground cover and in cosmetics as an antioxidant and exfoliant Importance to other species Provides a valuable nectar source for pollinators, and food source for birds

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!


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