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Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry or Virginia Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana

Wild Strawberries in bloom, photographer Martha Rasmussen

Though the wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana, is native to the North American continent it now has a far reaching range where it grows.  The native F virginiana was hybridized with the Chilian Strawberry F chilousis clear back in the 1750s to create what we refer to as a strawberry or garden strawberry.  The garden strawberry is much larger than the native but the fragrant taste of the wild strawberry was never duplicated.  The showy flowers averaging 3/4 inch in diameter begin to appear in May around the Darrington area where they can get plenty of sun.

 Strawberry plants entangled with other plants as they spread along roadsides, photographer Martha Rasmussen

The delectable red fruit soon follows after blooming begins and is a very sought after food not just by humans but a very diverse group of wildlife from bears, birds rodents and more.  There are many dry seeds on the outer fruit which seldom get digested and help to sow more strawberry plants.  The name Strawberry has nothing to do with straw but how words and pronunciation change over time.  The original name comes from the Anglo-Saxon name; "Streowberie" because as they grow they "strew" across the ground in a thick mat.