April 21, 2021
It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Here's one of my favorite plants to find out in the wild: Fragaria virginiana, better known as wild strawberry!
Wild strawberries are in bloom right now (as you can see from the photos), which means the fruit should be ready to pick in May or June (assuming I can beat the critters to them because all kinds of animals love wild strawberries). Fragaria virginiana is one of two species that were hybridized to create the modern garden strawberry that we buy at the store (the other species was Fragaria chiloensis, a Chilean strawberry species).
As a kid, I remember getting excited when I would find wild strawberries. While the fruit is tiny compared to the strawberries you buy at the store, I've always felt that they have a much richer flavor.
It's easy to confuse wild strawberries with mock strawberries (Potentilla indica). You're much more likely to find mock strawberries in your yard. The easiest way to tell the difference is that wild strawberries have white flowers while mock strawberries have yellow flowers. However, if you make a mistake and eat a mock strawberry, you have nothing to worry about; the fruit, while pretty flavorless, is completely non-toxic. Having said that, always exercise caution when picking wild berries!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!