Fragaria vesca L. - European wood strawberry, woodland or hedge strawberry.

Taxonomic position.

Family Rosaceae Juss. genus Fragaria L.


Fragaria sylvestris Duch., F. vulgaris Ehrh., F.succulenta Gilib., Potentilla vesca Scop.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial herbaceous plant. Stems are erect or ascendant, 5-20(30) cm tall, a little longer than the bottom leaves assembled in a rosette. The axils of bottom leaves produce long runners, taking root in the nodes. The stem is covered with hairs, squarrose in the lower part and more or less accumbent in the upper part. Bottom leaf stalks are long, covered with horizontally squarrose hairs. Leaves are ternate-compound; the middle leaflet is ovate or rhomboid, on a short petiole; lateral leaflets are oblique-ovate, for the most part sessile, with 6-13 large triangular or semiovate denticles on each side, each terminating in a small reddish cusp; the last denticle is smaller than its neighbors but more protruding. Leaves are dark-green with interspersed appressed pilosity from above, and glaucously green with silky appressed pilosity and hardly protruding veins from below. Inflorescence, with an underdeveloped stem leaf at the base, is corymbiform, oliganthous. Pedicels are long, appressed pilose. Flowers are usually no more than 2 cm in diameter and, as a rule, bisexual. Sepals are triangular, sharp or short-pointed, almost equal to or slightly shorter than the petals, appressed pilose, when under fruit, squarrose or declinate. Fruits are ovoid, oval-conical or almost globular; mature ones are scarlet, easily detached from the receptacle. Entomophilous. Ornito- and zoochore. Blossoms in late May, bears fruit in July. 2n=14.


Widespread throughout the European part of the ex-USSR: Caucasus, Western Siberia (except the northern areas), Middle Asia and Kazakhstan (from Southern Altai to Zaysan Hollow and farther westwards-Saur, Dzungarian Ala Tau, Ketmen, Chu-Ili Mountains, Trans-Ili Ala Tau, Kara Tau, Western Tien Shan).


Mesophyte. Grows in forests, especially pinewoods and less frequently birch woods, at forest edges, among shrubs, on glades in the forest zone, less frequently in the steppe zone, tending to inhabit shadowy places and damp habitats. In the mountains it ascends to the middle belt. Species prefers sufficiently moistened fertile soils.

Utilization and economic value.

Used as a food (berries) and medicine. Fruit are eaten fresh or used to prepare jam and confectionaries. Leaves serve as a substitute for tea. Among cultivated varieties, ever-bearing ones are better known for their long blossoming, almost until the fall, and fructification.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. 202-203 pp. (In Russian)
Malyshev, L.I. & G.A. Peshkova, eds. 1994. Flora of Siberia. Rosaceae. V. 8. Novosibirsk: Nauka. 35 p. (In Russian)
Poyarkova, A.I. 1941. Strawberry-Fragaria L. Flora of the USSR. V. 10. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences. 59-60 pp. (In Russian)
Schmidt V.M., ed. 1990. Areas of distribution of medicinal plants and their relatives in the USSR (Atlas), 2nd editions (revised). Leningrad: Leningrad University Publishers. 60 p. (In Russian)

© I.G. Chukhina.


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