Sunday, June 26, 2005

Wild Strawberries

Wild strawberries are in fruit right now in southern Ontario. We have two kinds growing on our property. The Field Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) and the Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) are hard to tell apart at first glance but with closer inspection, over a period of time, one can usually tell the difference. According to Edward Voss's Michigan Flora, which is the three volume guidebook set that I usually use, the two plants do not hybridize. He states that they have a different chromosome count, but that is beyond my knowledge and certainly not a field recognition point.

If one looks at the leaves, the Field Strawberry leaves are lighter green and lighter in texture than the Woodland Strawberry. I have also noticed that in our area the Field Strawberry starts blooming sooner, usually in April, and blooms longer. I have found Field Strawberry flowers in November during warm years. The Woodland Strawberry blooms that I have found start in May and finish by August. Normal bloom times tend to be in April and May.

A more telling point, to sort out these two strawberries, is the fruit. The fruit of the Field Strawberry has its achenes (seeds) in depressions on the fruit. The Woodland Strawberry has its achenes projecting from the surface.

I wish that the fruits were even half the size shown in these photos. Both are very small, about the size of a single bean. The taste helps make up for the small size.


LauraJ said...

Now I'll have to take a second look at what are almost certainly Field Strawberries (in the exhausted bits of the 'lawn'. House bulldozed out of esker 29 years ago, they didn't exactly splurge on importing topsoil, whihc is fine with me). Very fine pictures of the fruit! I hope you're not getting our NH hot-and-humid weather.

Anonymous said...

How does 30 degrees C (86 F) with humidex of 37 C (99 F) at 11 in the morning compare?

Guess it's time to put away the cross country skis. Sigh!