wild strawberry

(Fragaria virginiana)


Wild strawberry is a very common, native, low growing, herbaceous plant. It occurs throughout the United States and Canada. In the U.S. it is common in the east and the west, but it is absent from the Great Basin and mostly absent from the Great Plains, Florida, and Louisiana. It also occurs in Alaska. In Canada, it occurs in every province except Nunavut. It is very common in Minnesota.

wild strawberry

Wild strawberry is found in open fields, meadows, and woodland openings. It grows under full to partial sun in loamy, dry to moist soil. It spreads quickly, often forming dense mats or patches that can cover large areas.

The fruit is a favorite of many animals, including birds, deer, and small mammals. It is also commonly harvested by humans for use in jams, jellies, pies, and other desserts. It was hybridized with beach strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) to create the garden strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa), the fruit of which is found in grocery stores and markets throughout the world. The plant is also used in traditional medicine for various ailments, such as diarrhea, skin disorders, and respiratory problems.


Wild strawberry is an erect, 4 to 6 tall, perennial forb that rises from rhizomes. It is often found in colonies forming a loose ground cover. It spreads freely by producing dull red runners up to 24 long that root at the nodes giving rise to new plants.

There are usually several basal leaves on hairy, green or dull red stalks. The leaf stalks can get up to 6 long but are more commonly 3 long or less. The leaves are divided into 3 leaflets.

The leaflets are thick, firm, elliptic to inversely egg-shaped, ¾ to 2¾ long, and up to 1½ wide. The lateral veins branch off of the central vein at an angle of about 30°. The upper surface is dark green to bluish-green and hairless. The lower surface is pale green and silky, with long, soft, slender, somewhat appressed hairs. The margins are coarsely toothed except near the base, where they are untoothed. The terminal tooth of the leaflet is narrower (less than half as wide) and shorter than (does not protrude beyond) the two adjacent teeth. A line drawn between the tips of the two adjacent teeth passes above the terminal tooth.

The inflorescence is a flat-topped or round-topped, branched cluster of a few to 12 flowers at the end of a hairy stalk that is shorter than the leaves. The flowers sit at about the same height as the leaves.

The flowers are ½ to 1 wide. There are 5 white, ¼ to ½ long petals, 5 green sepals about 2 5 long, 5 green, leaf-like bracts about the same length as the petals, 20 to 40 stamens with yellow anthers, and numerous pistils.

The fruit is technically an accessory fruit, not a berry. It consists of a fleshy receptacle with achenes on the surface. It is roundish, ½ to ¾ long, with the familiar shape of the cultivated strawberry. The seed-like achenes are positioned in shallow pits on the surface of the receptacle.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.



Plantae (green algae and land plants)


Viridiplantae (green plants)


Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)


Embryophyta (land plants)


Tracheophyta (vascular plants)


Spermatophytina (seed plants)


Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)




Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)


Rosaceae (rose)


Rosoideae (brambles, roses, strawberries, and allies)


Potentilleae (strawberries, cinquefoils, and allies)


Fragariinae (strawberry)


Fragaria (strawberries)


Subordinate Taxa

large Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana ssp. grayana)

smooth wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana ssp. glauca)

Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana ssp. platypetala)

Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana ssp. virginiana)


Most authorities, including ITIS, GRIN, USDA PLANTS, Flora of North America, and Plants of the World Online (POWO), recognize four subspecies of wild strawberry. A few sources, including World Flora Online and Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri Vol. 3 (Yatskievych, 2013), consider these synonyms and don’t recognize any subspecies.



Fragaria canadensis

Fragaria ovalis


Common Names

common strawberry

thick-leaved wild strawberry

Virginia strawberry

wild strawberry








Accessory fruit

A fruit formed from the ovary but containing much fleshy tissue derived from adjacent parts, such as an apple. pear, or strawberry.



A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded seed capsule, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



The thickened, upper part of a flower stalk to which flowers or flower parts are attached. In composite flowers, the part on which the flowers are borne. In accessory fruits the receptacle gives rise to the edible part of the fruit.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

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Fragaria virginiana
Matt Lavin

Fragaria virginiana

Fruit: multiple achenes on a fleshy receptacle (accessory). Compared to Fragaria vesca, Fragaria virginiana has gray green and not-so-prominently veined leaves and is more open-site inhabiting. Stoloniferous scapose perennial herb with a creeping growth habit, common in meadows, grasslands, and open understory at all elevations in the mountainous regions of Montana.

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
Andree Reno Sanborn

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

Fragaria virginiana WILD STRAWBERRY
Frank Mayfield

Fragaria virginiana WILD STRAWBERRY



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Other Videos

MyNature Apps; Identifying Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana


Uploaded on May 14, 2011

How to Identify Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana. www.mynatureapps.com



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Dan W. Andree
May 2024

Location: Norman Co. Mn.

wild strawberry

Location: Cass County

wild strawberry

Crystal Boyd

Location: La Salle Lake SNA

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