Fragaria virginiana - photos and description


 Terminal tooth is shorter than the adjacent teeth on end of leaf segments

Low plant having white flowers measured with 5 petals and sepals, to 2 cm, several flowers per plant. Leaves basal, ternate, segments wedge-shaped, serrate, segment measured at 2 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. Leaf margins and bottoms with long hairs, leaf tops glabrous. Stems and petioles pubescent. Fruit is a small, sweet strawberry.

Habitat is open woodlands, and moist spots on prairie. Very common.

There are 2 species of Fragaria native to Saskatchewan. The easiest way to distinguish between them is to examine the tips of the leaf segments. Fragaria virginiana (as shown on leaf above) has its terminal tooth narrower and shorter than the adjacent ones. The other species, Fragaria vesca, has its terminal tooth project beyond the adjacent ones (as listed in Taxonomic Reminder for Remembering Saskatchewan Plants, Flora of Alberta, Plants of the Western Boreal Forest). 

Budd's Flora distinguishes between the two species by the hairs on the stems - F. virginiana with hairs on stems ascending and closely pressed to stems, and F. vesca with hairs on stems spreading in various directions. I observed flower stems on adjacent plants of F. virginiana having both these conditions, I don't think it's a very useful distinguishing characteristic.

Height measured to 7 cm tall.

Photos taken May 30th in open aspen woods about 70 km south east of our home in Regina, SK.