Fragaria virginiana (Wild Strawberry)

Plant Info
Also known as: Common Strawberry, Virginia Strawberry
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry open fields, woodland edges, along railroads, roadsides
Bloom season:April - June
Plant height:4 to 8 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Clusters of white flowers, usually several blooming at a time and sometimes nodding, at the end of a stem usually shorter than the height of surrounding leaves. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch wide with 5 round to oval petals, about 20 yellow stamens surrounding a yellowish center, and 5 sharply pointed sepals as long as or shorter than the petals. Multiple small leaflet-like bracts are often present where the flower stalks diverge at the top of the stem.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound Leaf type: palmate

[photo of leaves] Leaves are basal and palmately compound in groups of 3. Leaflets are 1 to 1½ inches long, ¾ to 1 inch wide, oval to wedge-shaped rounded at the tip end, coarsely toothed, softly veined, generally finely hairy throughout, the central leaflet on a short stalk, the compound leaf on a long hairy stem. The tooth at the very tip is much smaller in size to the teeth on either side of it and does not extend beyond them. Color is generally a bluish-green. Stems are above ground runners (stolons) that root at tips from which a crown of leaves emerge.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Small red strawberries are globe shaped, the tiny seeds (achenes) attached in shallow pits on the berry (drupe) surface.


Our two small red native strawberries, F. vesca and F. virginiana, are both common and widespread can be easily confused at first glance but have many distinguishing charaterisitcs: The terminal tooth on F. vesca is more consistently as large as the teeth around it, is sparsely hairy at best, has larger teeth and more prominent veins on the leaflets, has fruit longer than wide with raised seeds, smaller flowers with stems typically rising above the leaves, and has a preference for moister, shadier habitat. The cultivated strawberry F. ananssa is a hybrid between F. virginiana and F. chiloensis, a species native to Europe, South America, and western North America; there are multiple subspecies, not all of which are native to all of those areas. Wild strawberries, while small, are very sweet and mighty good eating. F. chiloensis is large and mostly tasteless. The hybrid was engineered to have both the size and sweetness.

Both native strawberries are great alternatives to turfgrass lawns or as a green mulch in gardens. #altlawn

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in various locations around the state - it is pretty ubiquitous.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Annie H - Hibbing Minnesota
on: 2016-05-20 20:55:20

1 small plant growing on the edge of a pile of boards behind a shed - out of sunlight. I transplanted it to a more protected area of the yard.

Posted by: Jason - Onamia Township
on: 2019-07-06 18:41:26

We just picked some on our property that contains about a 1/4 acre of them. They are spreading out more and more and we love it!!!

Posted by: Austin Strand - Plymouth
on: 2020-04-08 18:28:12

At my cabin in Park Rapids MN, there are many of these plants around. I found one in the middle of a dry area on my land, and I decided to bring it home (It was looking like it was ready to die). I accidentally ripped most of the roots out of the plant, but over the span of a few months, it began to grow much larger than when I found it (around September). I brought it inside for the winter (Not sure if this was a good idea), and it has been growing throughout the whole winter in my kitchen window. Now that it's April, I will be transporting it to my garden outside. It will be planted in the same area as my "normal" strawberries. I hope I can make some kind of hybrid (Not sure how strawberries grow fruits). Hope all goes well!

Posted by: Elizabeth Schmidt - Lindstrom
on: 2020-05-09 15:38:58

We have them growing in the woods near the Sunrise River in Chisago County.

Posted by: Andy - Minneapolis
on: 2023-08-18 18:24:53

Volunteered in a dry/sandy spot at the canopy edge of a bur oak. It's just one plant as of right now. Some sort of bug has been feasting on its leaves, but I found two full leaves and IDed the smaller leaf tips. At certain times of day, the hairs atop the leaves catch the light and make the leaves appear to shimmer. First time I've seen this level of visual effect from leaf hairs.

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