Common Strawberry
Fragaria virginiana
Rose Family (Rosaceae)
By E. Ann Poole

Strawberry fruit (photo by Webmaster) There's nothing sweeter or more refreshing on a summer morning than a dozen or so fresh-picked wild strawberries for breakfast. Bleeding crimson and full of flavor, these North American delights have been hybridized with larger South American and European species to produce the domesticated garden strawberry.

Unlike their cultivated progeny, the wild strawberry lives life on the edge. It grows from Newfoundland to Florida in moist woodland openings and along dappled field edges. The familiar white flowers appear in mid-spring and, by early summer, small ruby-colored berries dangle like charms in the grass.

The fruit is high in vitamin C, iron and anti-cancer compounds, eases symptoms of gout and arthritis and, rubbed over the teeth, whiten and remove plaque without damaging the enamel. If you are lucky enough to find a patch of ripe berries before the chipmunks, take a few moments and gather a handful or two. Your heart will be gladdened and your dentist will thank you for it.

E. Ann Poole is a Consulting Ecologist & Environmental Planner in Hillsborough, NH. She can be reached by calling 603.478.1178 or via the web at eannpoole.com.

Common Strawberry Characteristics   

Flowers:   white 3/4 inch wide, 5 roundish petals, 5 green sepals, many stamens and pistils
Leaves:   basal, long-stalked, three-parted, toothed
Fruit:   egg-shaped, red, seed-like, June through July
Height:   creeper with flower stalk 3-6 inches high
Flowering:   mid May through June
Habitat:   open fields, edges of woods
Range:   throughout
Latin Name:   Fragaria virginiana
Family:    Rose Family (Rosaceae)
Name Origin:    Canoe Country Flora, by Mark Stensaas offers a few theories as to where the "straw" in "strawberry" came from: the old Anglo-Saxon term "streow berie" may refer to the runners "strewn" all over the ground; straw was used under the plants to protect the berries from dirt and mud; and there was an old European practice of stringing the fruits on grass or straw.
Common Names:   common strawberry, wild strawberry, meadow strawberry

Common strawberry plant's leaves and flowers (photo by Webmaster)


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