Various species that were formerly treated as distinct are now included in Fragaria vesca, most notably Fragaria americana (Porter) Britton, Fragaria bracteata A.Heller and Fragaria californica Cham. & Schltdl.. See below for more information[
The cultivated forms of Fragaria vesca, known collectively as 'Alpine Strawberries' are treated on a separate record - see Fragaria vesca 'Alpine Strawberry'[
Dactylophyllum fragaria Spenn.
Fragaria abnormis Tratt.
Fragaria aliena Weihe
Fragaria alpina (Weston) Steud.
Fragaria americana (Porter) Britton
Fragaria botryformis Duchesne
Fragaria bracteata A.Heller
Fragaria californica Cham. & Schltdl.
Fragaria chinensis Losinsk.
Fragaria concolor Kitag.
Fragaria eflagellis Duchesne
Fragaria elatior muricata (L.) Willd.
Fragaria florentina Poit. & Turpin
Fragaria gillmanii Clinton
Fragaria helleri Holz.
Fragaria hortensis Duchesne
Fragaria insularis Rydb.
Fragaria mexicana Schltdl.
Fragaria minor Duchesne
Fragaria monophylla L.
Fragaria multiplex Duchesne
Fragaria muricata L.
Fragaria nemoralis Salisb.
Fragaria nuda Pers.
Fragaria portentosa Poit. & Turpin
Fragaria retrorsa Greene
Fragaria roseiflora Boulay
Fragaria semperflorens Duchesne
Fragaria succulenta Gilib.
Fragaria sylvestris (L.) Duchesne
Fragaria unifolia Steud.
Fragaria vulgaris Ehrh.
Potentilla vesca (L.) Scop.
Common Name: Wild Strawberry
Fragaria vesca is a herbaceous perennial plant producing a rosette of leaves from a central rootstock. The plant can grow 5 - 30cm tall and wide, spreading freely by stolons to form large colonies[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes cultivated in gardens for its edible fruit, and is occasionally grown as an ornamental.
Eurasia - Norway and Portugal, to Siberia, Mongolia, China and Iran; N. America - British Colombia to Newfoundland, south to California, Virginia
Woods, grassland and scrub, on basic soils, sometimes becoming locally dominant in woods on calcareous soils[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bees, Flies, Lepidoptera
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced. Succeeds on acid and alkaline soils. Likes a mulch of pine or spruce leaves. The plant grows well on woodland edges.
Fragaria vesca is a very variable species that has at times been treated as a number of distinct species. Current thinking has now merged these various species (see the list of synonyms) under Fragaria vesca and recognizes four subspecies as listed below. Since the fruit of these various subspecies is rather similar, we have not made separate records for them. However, there is a group of cultivated plants that are rather distinct horticulturally, though they are not recognized as botanically distinct. Known as the alpine strawberries, they differ in a number of important ways, in particular the size of the fruit, the flowering season and the fact that they do not produce runners and so can usually only be propagated by seed. See the record Fragaria vesca ‘Alpine Strawberries’ for more information on these cultivars. The following are the four subspecies currently recognized:-
Fragaria vesca americana (Porter) Staudt. The woodland strawberry is found through much of Canada then south through eastern USA to Virginia.
Fragaria vesca bracteata (A.Heller) Staudt. Native to western and southern N. America to southern Mexico.
Fragaria vesca californica (Cham. & Schltdl.) Staudt. Western N. America from Oregon to Baja California
Fragaria vesca vesca. The wild strawberry is found through most of Europe and east to Siberia, Mongolia, China, central Asia and Iran.
During the growing season new plants are produced on runners - prostrate stems emerging from the leaf axils of mature plants. These runners are used as propagation material[
Plants spread rapidly by means of runners[
Fruit - raw, cooked or made into preserves[
]. Sweet and succulent. The red, ovoid fruit has an exquisite flavour but the fruits are usually very small and fiddly[
], though they can be up to 10mm in diameter[
]. Rich in iron and potassium, the fruit is an excellent addition to the diet of people suffering from anaemia[
Young leaves - raw or cooked[
]. Added to salads or used as a potherb[
The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute[
]. A delicious drink, it is ideal for children[
The dried fruit is used as a substitute for tea[
The root has been used as a coffee substitute in India[
The leaves and the fruit are mildly astringent, diuretic, laxative and tonic[
]. The leaves are mainly used, though the fruits are an excellent food to take when feverish and are also effective in treating rheumatic gout[
]. A slice of strawberry is also excellent when applied externally to sunburnt skin[
]. A tea made from the leaves is a blood tonic and has been used as a treatment for diarrhoea in adults and children[
]. It is used in the treatment of chilblains[
] and also as an external wash on sunburn[
]. A poultice can be made from the powdered leaves mixed in oil, it is used to treat open sores[
]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use[
The fruits contain salicylic acid and are beneficial in the treatment of liver and kidney complaints, as well as in the treatment of rheumatism and gout[
The roots are astringent and diuretic[
]. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and chronic dysentery[
]. Externally it is used to treat chilblains and as a throat gargle[
]. The roots are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[
The fruit is used as a tooth cleaner[
]. The fresh fruit removes stains from teeth if it is allowed to remain for about 5 minutes[
The fruit is also used cosmetically in skin-care creams[
]. It tones and whitens the skin, combats wrinkles, lightens freckles, soothes sunburn and whitens the teeth[
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer.
Division of runners, preferably done in mid summer in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop[
]. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.