Wood strawberry's fruit tastes like water

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Recently I took this photo of frost on a berry of a wild wood strawberry. The wood strawberry is a native ever-bearing plant with red seedy fruits about the size of a large pea. This plant propagates the same way tame strawberries do, by sending out runners upon which new plants grow. The berries themselves seem to serve no real purpose for the plant's survival from one year to the next.

There are other kinds of wild strawberry plants, and they all have white flowers and sweet berries. However, the wood strawberry has yellow flowers and its berries taste disappointingly like water. Wild strawberries, including the unusual wood strawberry, are all nonpoisonous.

Looking like a miniature representation of the tame strawberry plant, the wood strawberry often grows untended in Southeast Missouri lawns. It may overpower the grass in a small area of a lawn, but it is generally not looked upon with disdain. It can form a nice-looking ground cover if mowed over and simply left alone.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.

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