Wild Strawberries

May 7, 2017

Discover nature this week and find some wild strawberry blooms.

Wild strawberries will be in bloom from April to May and the berries can be collected beginning in May through June. This plant’s berries and leaves are in high demand by people and animals alike.
The berries, sometimes sweet and sometimes tart, are a favorite of many and can be used to make jams, shortcakes and syrups. When the leaves begin to dry in August, they’re perfect picking for wild strawberry tea, rich in vitamin C.

The wild strawberry ranges from the size of a pea to the size of a thumb, and is eaten by birds, possums, skunks, chipmunks, the Meadow Vole, White-footed Mouse, and Eastern Box Turtle, and the leaves are a common food for the Eastern Cottontail, White-tailed Deer, and several insect species.

Strawberry plants are also excellent cover for small animals throughout the Spring and Summer. Toads, salamanders, centipedes, spiders, and many insects can crawl and hide among the leaves.

As you search for wild strawberries, watch out for poison ivy, as wild strawberry plants will grow alongside many other plants. The important thing is to identify what you’re looking for.

Wild Strawberry is a common creeping plant that grows just about anywhere. It can grow up to six inches tall, and its leaves are split into three leaflets measuring 1 to one and a half inches long.

Creeping plants, like strawberries, have runners which are stems that grow sideways on the surface of the soil. As the runners grow, they send up new strawberry plants.

To keep track of current natural events like when to look for blooming wild strawberries you can get your own Natural Events Calendar from the Missouri Department of Conservation.