Synonyms for Wild Strawberry: Alpine strawberry, European strawberry, woodland strawberry, wood strawberry
Scientific Name: Fragaria vesca L.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)
The fruits of this member of the rose family are little miracles of flavour. Anyone wishing to try them can easily grow a plant on a balcony or in the garden, or can look for them in open woods or on grassy banks. The herbaceous perennial grows as a rosette, reaching a height of 20 centimetres, and forms runners with joints from which new plants grow. Leaves, flowers and fruit all look very much like the strawberries familiar to us from fruit shops, but are much, much smaller. The strawberries can reach a good centimetre in size – but their flavour is incomparably intense. Incidentally, the strawberries we enjoy so much are what we call accessory fruits. Their flesh develops from the receptacles of pollinated flowers that open in May or June and in sunny locations continue to flower until the first frosts come. The actual fruits are the little pips, known as achenes, which sit on the accessory fruit. Because strawberries consist of many achenes, botanists call them aggregate fruits. In contrast to the golden achenes of the garden strawberry, the achenes of the wild strawberry are coloured red. This red colouring attracts all sorts of animals, which enjoy the fruit as much as we do. Fox, badger, squirrel, hedgehog, vole and dormouse, as well as birds of all kinds, snails and insects, excrete the indigestible achenes after consumption and thus contribute to dispersal of the wild strawberry.