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