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Wild Strawberry

Fragaria vesca

Wild Strawberry (fragaria vesca) flower & leavesWild Strawberry (fragaria vesca) flower & leavesNot a plant that’s found in quite as many places as some forages but where it does grow there will be loads! The Wild Strawberry looks very much like the larger cultivated variety we’re all so used to, so is easily recognisable if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon a patch!

In late Spring the familiar rounded white flowers draw my attention to the distinctive serrated leaves and you’ll bet I won’t forget where I saw them! The flower quickly fades after pollination from which the fruit will grow, turning red throughout June.

 Many wild strawberry plants in a clearing providing good ground coverMany wild strawberry plants in a clearing providing good ground cover

 

Unripe strawberry forming after the petals fall from the flowerUnripe strawberry forming after the petals fall from the flowerAt only 1cm in diameter, Wild Strawberries are MUCH smaller than what we’re used to finding from the supermarket, even compared to our daintier English varieties but well worth tasting! Because of their tiny size the surface seeds appear massive and lumpy, then as we know looks aren’t everything… ripe berries have a powerful flavour like several regular strawberries rolled into one! As with most wild foods, modern technology may be able to produce a larger easier to process version but nature can always be trusted to do much more with what she has.

 

Ripening wild strawberry, might have to wait another few days for this one...Ripening wild strawberry, might have to wait another few days for this one...Needless to say the plant could do with a helping hand so if you want more to enjoy next year be sure not to take every last fruit which is the plants chance to distribute seeds. If you can, and since you’re likely to scoff the tiny fruits where you stand, chew carefully and perhaps spit a few seeds back into the undergrowth with well wishes…

 

Like any fruit Wild Strawberries can be preserved by freezing or making a jam, though you’ll need to have found a huge patch to gather enough worth all that effort!

 

Lookalikes:

The Barren Strawberry Potentilla sterilis– produces a dry red berry that won’t harm you, just likely disappoint! The petals of the flowers are notched into heart shapes and seem to stand apart from the flowers centre to display a green star behind. The life cycle of the Barren Strawberry seems to occur much earlier, finishing in May as the Wild Strawberry is just beginning so really shouldn’t be confused.

 

Have you been lucky enough to taste a Wild Strawberry? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!

 

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Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more


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