poetry and prose about place

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana Duchesne)

with 16 comments

Soon, the fields at our summer place will be jeweled with Wild Strawberries.

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana Duchesne) grows in open woodlands, fields and barrens.  It is also known as Virginia Strawberry, Common Strawberry and, in French, fraisier.   The name Fragaria comes from the Latin word for strawberry, fraga meaning fragrance.

The leaves of Wild Strawberry grow on slender stalks, and occur in threes.  They are hairy and coarsely toothed.   Plants are stoloniferous, meaning they produce ‘stolons’ or runners, freely-rooting basal branches.

The flower of the Wild Strawberry is white, with five petals and numerous stamens and pistils.  Right now, our fields are spangled with them.  The flowers occur in an open cluster of two or more flowers.  In this species, the flower stalk is not longer than the leaf stalk.

The berries are red and ovoid, covered with small pits and seeds.  They are more delicate and sweeter than the domestic strawberry.  They appear in late June and may last until August, but the best berry-picking is at the first of summer.

In the book ‘The Blue Castle’ by Lucy Maude Montgomery, the heroine says one of her greatest pleasures is to eat berries directly from the stem:

Here they found berries … hanging like rubies to long, rosy stalks. They lifted them by the stalk and ate them from it, uncrushed and virgin, tasting each berry by itself with all its wild fragrance ensphered therein. When Valancy carried any of these berries home that elusive essence escaped and they became nothing more than the common berries of the market-place–very kitchenly good indeed, but not as they would have been, eaten in their birch dell …

(from L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle, Chapter 30, McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1972)


The berries of the Wild Strawberry are delicious in jam.  The leaves also make a fragrant tea, high in Vitamin C.  To make the tea, put a handful of green leaves into two cups of boiling water, steep, strain and enjoy!



too early to pick


last week of June

roadside red with leaves

and ripening wild

strawberries hang

still green except

where sepal contrast

shows sweet berry


patience, wait

a few days and every berry

ripe and a thimble pot

of berry jam


can’t wait?

sour green flesh

grit of tiny seed



Copyright  Jane Tims 2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

16 Responses

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  1. […] For another of my posts about wild strawberries, and a poem about picking wild strawberries, look here. […]


  2. I remember picking loads of these when I was a child so that my Grammy could make jam. It took so many tiny berries to make each jar of the wonderful sweet stuff. Now, there are wild strawberries growing in my lawn…it is a wildish lawn, of sorts. Thanks for this reminder of those tiny jewels of summer.


    Carol Steel

    June 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

  3. Lovely. For me, wild strawberries go hand in hand with the carefree feel of a warm, still day in early summer. Have your tried drawing them with your new red pen? Speaking of which, a cardinal is cheeping at me from the feeder as I type this. He would use up a great deal of your ink!


    Jane Fritz

    June 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

    • Hi. No, but I really love using those pencils. I framed the three I did… Bunchberry, Bluebead Lily and Wild Lily-of-the-Valley and they look well together! Jane


      jane tims

      June 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      • I love your drawings, Jane… They are uniquely you… I can almost feel your personality through them. They are true field notes…



        June 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      • Hi Merril. I appreciate the comment, especially from someone of your talent. I love doing the drawings. Jane


        jane tims

        June 13, 2012 at 7:08 am

  4. Another quality post here, Jane!



    June 12, 2012 at 10:12 am

    • Hi. Thanks. I’d be curious to know what you think about my drawing. jane


      jane tims

      June 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

  5. I’ve run across these in a park here in Ohio- very interesting, aren’t they?


    Watching Seasons

    June 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm

  6. On our walk through the woods this weekend we saw tons of wild strawberry… Amazingly it kept wanting to grow up in the path. No berries yet up here. It was a gorgeous day for me….



    June 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    • Hi Merrill. The Wild Strawberry flowers are mostly gone here but the berries have yet to set. We have a big patch at the cabin and I hope to get at least a small jar of jam. Jane


      jane tims

      June 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      • I’m always looking for wild black cherry trees to see if I can get at least a bit … but haven’t seen any strawberries here like the one’s I saw in Mass. Good luck to you.



        June 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      • I’ll let you know when we are picking. Jane


        jane tims

        June 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

  7. It is the same here. The way things have bloomed this year, I am going to watch for the wild ones earlier.



    June 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    • It is a little hard to predict when the berries will be perfect for picking. Jane.


      jane tims

      June 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

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