Wild and barren

6th February 2013

Spotted these Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca leaves in a local wood. It is definitely worth locating them now so that you can return in summer to harvest the small but delicious fruit.  Because the fruit is much smaller than the cultivated variety it can easily be overlooked and you are unlikely to stumble across it, better to know where they grow and actively go looking for them.

Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca

We saw in an earlier blog that there is a doppelganger for Wild Strawberry in the form of the Barren Strawberry Potentila sterilis so it’s worth learning how to tell them apart to avoid disappointment in June when you are looking for fruit that isn’t there.

Barren Strawberry Potentilla sterilis


There are several subtle differences in the leaves to tell the two apart (these aren’t all obvious in the pictures unfortunately).  Firstly Wild Strawberry tends to have larger, glossier leaves. The have longer, hairier leaf stems and longer runners.  To me Wild Strawberry leaves appear to have coarser features; more pronounced teeth on the leaf edge and more obvious leaf veins.  The key feature distinguishing difference between the leaves is that the terminal tooth at the end of the leaf on Wild Strawberry is as long or longer than the ones either side of it which gives the leaf a pointed appearance. On Barren Strawberry the terminal tooth is much shorter than those either side and gives the leaf a rounded look.


Kev Palmer

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