Despite the recent snowstorm that blanketed much of Southern Ontario, Spring is just around the corner (March 20 to be specific).  What better way to get a glimpse into Spring than to profile one of our favourite early bloomers, Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana).  Wild Strawberry is a flowering herbaceous perennial that blooms in the late spring/early summer and continues to spread by creeping stolons (horizontal stems) all summer.

Fragaria virginiana is typically found in patches in open fields, waste places, and dry openings.  It produces a small, tasty strawberry, which is edible.  The edible “fruit” is actually an aggregate of tiny, hard fruits called achenes, embedded in a fleshy receptacle, where the flower petals attach to the stem. This species is a favourite of many insects, birds, and animals.  The nectar and pollen of the flowers attracts bees, flies, and small butterflies.  It is also common to see robins, pheasants, squirrels, chipmunks, and mice enjoying the tasty fruit.

Fragaria virginiana is an excellent groundcover species providing a wonderful carpet of foliage.  Once established, it has been successful in crowding out weeds and other invasive species, providing year round protection to the soil.  This species does require regular maintenance to remove dieback.  Not only does Fragaira virginiana thrive as a groundcover, it can also be used for border edging, as well as naturalizing and woodland gardens.

This perennial thrives in full to part sun in average moistness, but will not tolerate flooding.

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Species Profile: Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)