"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Wild Strawberry Impostors
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Scifres

At this late date wild (common) strawberries still may be found in Indiana's northern-tier counties en route to Michigan and other far-north places, but we have an impostor among us who/which is said to be poisonous.

It is the Indian strawberry, Indian strawberry (Duchesnea indica) which will be found throughout the state . . . possibly in your own lawn.

At first glance, the Indian strawberry fruit may look very much like a small wild strawberry. But there the similarity ends. The Indian strawberry is pithy inside, not sweet with scarlet juice like its distant cousin . . . Both are from the rose family.

At the flowering stage each shows five petals, but the flower of the wild strawberry is larger and white; that of the Indian strawberry smaller and yellow. Pre-flowering characteristics show the wild strawberry as an individual plant, the Indian strawberry as an almost indistinguishable vine that rambles through the grass putting up satellite plants. 

I have sampled the fruit (berry) of Indian strawberries without any adverse reactions, but would not recommend them for consumption. Still, they are an interesting plant . . . well worth a nature lover's attention.

[Click on photo to view enlarged image.]

See larger image of wild strawberry shapes.
The Indian strawberry somewhat resembles its distant cousin, the wild strawberry. Wild strawberries, though coming in many shapes and sizes, differ greatly.
See larger view of Indian strawberry flower.
See larger view of pan of wild strawberries.
The flower of the Indian strawberry is yellow. A big pan of wild strawberries contrasts nicely against a quarter. 

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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