Wild strawberries are worth salvaging.

Under a bank of carpet roses that I am none too keen on, this grubby ground cover competes with more aggressive weeds. To me, it looks like common mock strawberry, Potentilla indica. I never gave it much though. It seemed to me that whoever had installed cheap and common carpet roses on that bank would have employed a comparably cheap and common ground cover.

The ground cover was more prolific in open spots that were too narrow for more of the roses, and from there, seemed to have migrated under the roses as a second layer of ground cover. It would not have been installed underneath intentionally. It did not occur to me that it may have grown from seed like so many other weeds there, or migrated in from the surrounding forest.

The white flowers did catch my attention though. I was not aware of a mock strawberry that bloomed with white flowers. I really was not concerned enough about it to investigate. This part of the landscape will be getting renovated soon anyway. The roses will be relocated to where they can not extend their thorny canes into an adjacent walkway. Agapanthus will replace them.

Now that I am seeing more of these odd strawberries, I am wondering if this low ground cover that I formerly had no regard for is actually the native wild strawberry, Fragaria californica. Not only should mock strawberry bloom with yellow flowers, but it should also produce more spherical berries. Now I will need to identify it before I either dispose of it, or merely relocate it.

I prefer to not salvage exotic species that exhibit potential to naturalize from landscaped areas into surrounding forests. If this ground cover is wild strawberry, it migrated from surrounding forests into a particular casually landscaped area.

9 thoughts on “Wild Strawberry?

  1. In my landscape, wild strawberry is generously seeded by chipmunks and voles. I am not sure what little creatures might have been running amok under the carpet Rose’s, but I suspect between those and small birds it’s possible that that’s how your wild strawberry got there.


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    1. There are plenty of critters to disperse the seed. I suspect that it was spread by birds. There are no chipmunks or vole here. The moles eat grubs, and squirrels do not eat soft fruit if there are enough seeds for them. If it is the native wild strawberry, I am sort of pleased that someone brought it here. Whoever it was is welcome to fruit. I like the ground cover.


  2. Just a word of warning: when I moved to the SF Bay area, I came across something growing up in the Marin hills that looked exactly like a wild strawberry to me. There was only the fruit — the plants were well past flowering. Without thinking, I popped one in my mouth, and believe me, it wasn’t a fit-for-humans fruit. My heart rate skyrocketed, and I really wasn’t sure what else was going to happen. Within about ten minutes, I was fine, but that wasn’t the sort of wild strawberry you’d want to make shortcake with.

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    1. Goodness! There are many toxic plants here, but I can not imagine what would resemble a strawberry. I do not eat anything here without identifying it. Even then, some things that are edible if cooked are not edible fresh.


    1. Those may have been mock strawberry, which would be a species of Potentilla. They are very similar to strawberry, although the fruit is rather bland. Potentilla blooms with yellow flowers. I am not aware of any that bloom white. Conversely, strawberry should bloom only white or pinkish white.

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    1. The native strawberry, which might be similar to yours, is not something that I would recommend for other landscapes. I have inspected too many landscapes in which it did not perform adequately. However, I happen to like it here where it can grow wild and be presentable, even if it does not cover thoroughly. It happens to perform better here than in other landscapes where I have observed it. The berries are just there for the squirrels and birds. I think that the foliage is handsome. Mock strawberry is more likely to produce greener foliage. I just dislike the cheap looking sporadic yellow flowers.

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