Fragaria virginiana

Botanical Name : Fragaria virginiana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. virginiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Fragaria glauca(S. Wats.)Rydb.

Common Names: Virginia strawberry, Scarlet Strawberry, Wild strawberry, or Common strawberry

Habitats : Fragaria virginiana is native to Eastern N. America – Newfoundland to South Dakota, south to Florida and Oklahoma. It grows in fields, open slopes and woodland edges.

Description:
Fragaria virginiana is a herbaceous perennial plant is 4-7″ tall, consisting of several basal leaves and one or more inflorescences. The basal leaves are trifoliate. The leaflets are up to 2½” long and 1½” across; they are obovate or oval in shape and coarsely toothed along their middle to outer margins. The tips of leaflets are rounded, while their bottoms are either wedge-shaped or rounded. The upper leaflet surface is medium to dark green and glabrous. The lower leaflet surface is variably hairy; fine hairs are most likely to occur along the bases of central veins, but they may occur elsewhere along the lower surface. Leaflet venation is pinnate and conspicuous. The petiolules (basal stalklets) of leaflets are light green, hairy, and very short (about 1 mm. in length). The petioles of basal leaves are up to 6″ long; they are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. One or more umbel-like clusters of flowers are produced from long peduncles up to 5″ long. These peduncles are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. Each umbel-like cluster has about 4-6 flowers on pedicels up to ¾” long. These pedicels are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. At the base of these pedicels, there are several bracts up to ¼” long that are light green to dark red, lanceolate in shape, and hairy.

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Individual flowers are about ½–¾” across when they are fully open; they can be pistillate, staminate, or perfect (staminate flowers are the least common). Each flower has 5 white petals, 5 green sepals, and 5 green sepal-like bracts. The petals are oval to orbicular in shape; they are longer than either the sepals or sepal-like bracts. The sepals are lanceolate in shape and hairy, while the sepal-like bracts are linear-lanceolate and hairy; both sepals and sepal-like bracts are joined together at the base of the flower. Each pistillate flower has a dome-shaped cluster of pistils at its center that is greenish yellow or pale yellow. Each staminate flower has 20-35 stamens with pale yellow filaments and yellow anthers. Each perfect flower has a dome-shaped cluster of pistils at its center and a ring of surrounding stamens. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer, lasting about 3-4 weeks. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by fruits when growing conditions are favorable, otherwise they abort. These fruits are up to ½” long and across; they are globoid or globoid-ovoid in shape, becoming bright red at maturity. Small seeds are scattered across the surface of these fruits in sunken pits; the persistent sepals and sepal-like bracts are appressed to the upper surface of these fruits. The fleshy interior of these fruits has a sweet-tart flavor; they are edible. The root system consists of a shallow crown with fibrous roots. After the production of flowers and fruits, hairy above-ground stolons up to 2′ long may develop from the crown. When the tips of these stolons touch the ground, they often form plantlets that take root. In this manner, clonal colonies of plants often develop.
Cultivation:
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced when plants grow in such a position. The plants appreciate a mulch of pine or spruce leaves. Along with F, chiloensis, this species is probably a parent of the cultivated strawberries. The cultivar ‘Little Scarlet‘ is a form of this species and this is still occasionally cultivated for its fruit in Britain.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit, leaves…..Fruit – raw, cooked or made into preserves. Sweet and succulent. Small but delicious. The fruit is up to 20mm in diameter. The dried leaves are a very pleasant tea substitute. Rich in vitamin C.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiseptic; Astringent; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Odontalgic; Poultice.

The whole plant is antiseptic, astringent, emmenagogue, galactogogue and odontalgic. It has been used to regulate the menstrual cycle. A tea made from the leaves has been used as a nerve tonic and is slightly astringent. A poultice made from the dried powdered leaves mixed with oil has been used to treat open sores. A tea made from the roots is diuretic. It has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, irregular menses, gonorrhoea, stomach and lung ailments.

Other Uses : The fruits are used as a tooth cleaner. They are held in the mouth, or rubbed over the teeth, to remove tartar.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_strawberry
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fragaria+virginiana
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/wld_strawberryx.htm

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