Fragaria vesca

Common name: woods strawberry, woodland strawberry, or wild strawberry[1]

Scientific name: Fragaria vesca

Native American names: Micmac, Huron, Potawatomi, Creek, Blackfoot, Iroquois, Coast Yuki, Karok, Halkomelem, Sechelt, and Cowlitz[2]

Plant family: Rosaceae (Rose family)[3]

Description: Fragaria vesca is a perennial[4] forb/herb[5], which grows close to the grown and has white 5-petal flowers that turn into strawberries. The green, toothed leaves are trifoliate and ovate with pinnate veins. They are water-resistant on the top and slightly fuzzy and lighter in color on the bottom. The berries are white at first and then they ripen to be bright red.

Habitat and Range: Fragaria vesca grows below 2000 meters in partly shady areas of forests and shrubby areas.[6] Its range includes most of the U.S. and Canada. However, it is not found in the southeastern U.S. nor the very northern parts of Canada and Alaska.[7] [8]

Historical and Contemporary Uses: Fragaria vesca is eaten raw as an edible fruit by both Yuki and Karok natives and many other peoples to this day. Fresh from the plant, the berries are very sweet and delicious. The berries can also be used in many different dishes including a variety of desserts, salads, and entrees. Today many people pick strawberries (especially domesticated species) to make jam.  Halkomelem, Sechelt, Cowlitz, and Micmac natives have historically and may still use the leaves to make tea.[9] The leaves can be mixed with other berries to make mixed-fruit teas. Wood strawberry leaves are also well-known among natives for their anti-diarrhea properties.[10]


[1] Lindsey Koepke @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 2 October 2011). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

[2] Anderson, Kat M., and Wayne Roderick. Natural Resources Conservation Service, 5 December 2000. Web. 2 Oct 2011. <http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_frve.pdf>.

[3] United States. PLANTS

Profile. USDA, 2011. Web. <http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=FRVE>.

[4] Anderson, Kat M., and Wayne Roderick. Natural Resources Conservation Service, 5 December 2000. Web. 2 Oct 2011. http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_frve.pdf.

[5] United States. PLANTS Profile. USDA, 2011. Web. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=FRVE.

[6] Anderson, Kat M., and Wayne Roderick. Natural Resources Conservation Service, 5 December 2000. Web. 2 Oct 2011. http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_frve.pdf.

[7] United States. PLANTS Profile. USDA, 2011. Web. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=FRVE.

[8] Margaret Williams @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 2 October 2011). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

[9] Anderson, Kat M., and Wayne Roderick. Natural Resources Conservation Service, 5 December 2000. Web. 2 Oct 2011. http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_frve.pdf.

[10] Pojar, Jim, and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Vancouver, B.C.: Lone Pine Publishing, 1994. 183. Print.