Wild strawberry: Plant profile
Wild Strawberry, Alpine Strawberry, Woodland Strawberry, Fraise des Bois, Smultron, Sú Talún Fiáin
Most of Europe, temperate Asia and North America. Very common throughout Britain and Ireland.
Where to find Wild Strawberries
Woodland clearings, grassy places, hedge banks, hillsides and scrubland.
When to find Wild Strawberries
Leaves early to mid-spring and fruit late spring to early summer.
How to identify Wild Strawberry
Wild Strawberry is a low herbaceous perennial. The flower stem is green to red and is hairy. The leaves are composed of three leaflets with serrated edges and pale undersides. The flowers have five petals and are white in colour, with a golden centre. The fruits are small and heart-shaped, red in colour and with tiny seeds on the outside.
Wild Strawberry lookalikes
Wild strawberry can be mistaken for Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis), but that species do not bear visible fruit.
In the odd ocassion, the similar Mock Strawberry or Indian Strawberry (Potentilla indica) can be found planted in gardens. It’s also edible but tasteless.
All about Wild Strawberry
The Wild Strawberry plants we see in the woodlands are not escapees, but native plants completely different to the domestic varieties we plant in our gardens.
Unwary foragers often miss the chance to pick these beautiful little gems, as they are often well camouflaged under the leaves. Mind you, their diminutive size would never lead one to suspect the flavoursome nature of the wild strawberry, much sweeter than its larger counterpart.
Culinary uses and recipes with Wild Strawberries
It’s incredible how these little berries can pack so much flavour, making up for in taste what they lack in size. Unfortunately, it really takes dedicated picking to collect many wild strawberries, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Wild Strawberries have an extremely sweet flavour and a hint of vanilla. The fruit is best eaten fresh on its own and can be served with Greek yoghourt, cream or ice cream. Preserve into jams, jellies and syrups or use in muesli and granola mixes.
Medicinal properties of Wild Strawberries
The fruit is rich in sugars and vitamins B, C and E. The young leaves are mildly astringent, diuretic, laxative and tonic and so they can be used in herbal teas for diarrhoea, digestive upsets and urinary complaints.
Safe foraging of Wild Strawberry
No hazards known.
Ecological importance of Wild Strawberry
The fruits are eaten by insect larvae and small mammals.