Wild Strawberry
Photo by Jacob W. Frank, via Flickr

Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginana

Family: Rosaceae, the Rose Family

Description: Native perennial herb up to 40cm tall.  5-parted white flowers with numerous stamens. Basal, compound leaves with 3 leaflets that are toothed—the terminal tooth shorter than adjacent teeth. Red, recognizable fruit.

Abundance: Common

Habitat: Fields, roadsides, lawns, meadows, open slopes

Plant Parts Used: Fruit, leaves

Food: Edible fruit

Medicine: Cooling, vitamin C, women’s health

Strawberries are a common food sold in grocery stores and roadside stands every summer. Many growers even allow people to pick their own strawberries from their farms. Strawberries are made into pies, sauces, jams and jellies, juices, and as a fragrance. Besides food, Sue and Patti mentioned using the leaves for tea. Sue said the leaf is cooling and the tea is rich in vitamin C. This effect is probably why the Cherokee used strawberry for treating scurvy. Deb said that wild strawberry is a gentle herb and that the leaf tea is helpful for supporting women’s health.

Note: This post is part of my Plants and People series. See my Plants and People page for more information about the project and the people referenced in this post.

References:

  • Chilton, Patti. Telephone interview. 31 Oct. 2010.
  • Michener, Martin C. Botany Everywhere: Woods, Field, Home, and Garden Plants of NE USA, Third Edition. Hollis, NH: MIST Software Associates, Inc., 2009. PDF.
  • Mittelhauser, Glen H., Linda L. Gregory, Sally C. Rooney, and Jill E. Weber. The Plants of Acadia National Park. Orono, Me.: University of Maine, 2010. Print.
  • Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Medicinal Plants: an Ethnobotanical Dictionary. Portland, Or.: Timber, 2009. Print.
  • Reitze, Raymond and Nancy. Personal interview. 8, 15 Oct. 2010.
  • Soule, Deb. Personal interview. 4 Feb. 2011.
  • Szwed, Sue. Personal interview. 12 Nov. 2010.
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