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Common Herb Species of the Northwest Forest

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SHRUBS

GRAMINOIDS

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Terminology | Pictorial

   
Fragaria virginiana
Common Strawberry
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Description

General - a low perennial from short, scaly rhizome, with several slender trailing runners (stolons); leaf stalks and flowering stems sparsely hairy, usually not reddish tinged.

Common Strawberry Leaves - at stem base, compound; 3 leaflets, very short-stalked, strongly toothed; bluish green, hairless above; naked to silky-hairy below, sometimes with whitish bloom; end tooth narrower and shorter than adjacent teeth.

Flowers - white; 2 to 15 in open clusters on 3 - 15 cm long stems (usually shorter than leaves); 5 petals, 6 - 8 mm long (sometimes to 12 mm).

Fruit -tiny achenes embedded in surface of juicy, delicious, red berries; much richer in flavour than domestic species; fruit stem shorter than leaves.

Habitat

Dry to moist open woodlands and clearings, often in disturbed areas; widespread across our region; preferring sunny locations.

Notes

The delicious fruits of wild strawberry are very popular among most northern residents. They are usually eaten raw, but they can also be collected in quantity and frozen, dried or made into jams and jellies. The leaves are often steeped in boiling water to make tea. Like the fruits, the leaves are high in vitamin C. This species is the original parent of 90% of all the cultivated strawberries now grown. The related Coastal Strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis is the source parent of the remaining cultivars.

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