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Woodland strawberry is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae).

Potentilla vesca (woodland strawberry)

[FTEA]

Rosaceae, R. A. Graham. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1960

Morphology General Habit
A tufted perennial, emitting from a central rootstock long stolons rooting at the nodes and forming new plants.
Morphology Leaves Stipules
Stipules red-brown, papery.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves petiolate, trifoliolate; leaflets ovate, oblong, or oblong-ovate, 3–4 × 2–3 cm., obtuse, basally cuneate to ± truncate, sharply serrated with rather few acute and large teeth, green above, with a few appressed hairs or glabrous, whitish below with silky appressed hairs; petiole densely covered with spreading, silky hairs, commonly 3–6 (but up to 25) cm. long; petiolules very short, the leaflets often subsessile.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence an erect, leafless cyme bearing about 5 flowers; flowering stems up to 15 cm. tall, hairy as the petioles.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 12–18 mm. diameter.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx covered externally with appressed silky hairs; calyx-lobes ovate, acuminate, about 2.75 mm. long; epicalyx-lobes oblong, acute, nearly equalling the calyx-lobes.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals white, obovate, ± 4 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit ovoid or spherical, nodding and red or reddish when ripe.
Habitat
Upland grasslands and forest edges; 2400–2850 m.
Distribution
a native of Europe, temperate Asia, North America, Madeira, Azoresstatus uncertain in our area. K3 T6 T7

[UPB]

The Useful Plants of Boyacá project

Ecology
Alt. 1500 - 3500 m.
Distribution
Cultivated in Colombia.
Morphology General Habit
Herb.
Conservation
Not Evaluated.

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description

Woodland strawberry is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae).

Strawberries have a history of being considered genus Fragaria, but recent research suggests they belong in the genus Potentilla, which includes plants commonly known as cinquefoils and barren strawberries. They also have long been associated with the genus Potentilla (since at least 1771, when Italian taxonomist Scopoli transferred Fragaria to Potentilla).

The common name strawberry is thought to derive from streabariye used by a Benedictine monk in AD 995 to refer to the 'straying' habit of the plant due to its runners.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Woodland strawberry is native from the west of the Ural Mountains throughout northern Europe and across North America.

It has the largest native range of the strawberries.

Description

Overview: Perennial herb up to about 30 cm tall, producing many long, spreading, above-ground stolons (runners).

Leaves: In a basal rosette, glossy bright green, divided into three leaflets. Leaflets up to 6 cm long with a toothed margin, sparsely hairy on upper surface, with a fine greyish covering of hair beneath.

Flowers: Up to 18 mm in diameter, usually bisexual, with five rounded white petals up to 5 mm long. Sepals (usually 10) up to 4 mm long. Scape (flower stalk) up to 30 cm long, each bearing 2-7 flowers.

Fruit: 'Fruit' up to 1 cm long and composed of many small, hairless achenes (dry, thin-walled fruits) scattered on the surface of an enlarged, conical, fleshy red receptacle.

Some important cultivars:

'Alexandria' - fruit small, red, sweet'Alpine Yellow' - fruit small, yellow, sweet'Baron Solemacher' - fruit small, red, acid to sweet'Rügen' - fruit large, red, aromatic, productive'Semperflorens' - alpine strawberry/ fraise du bois - to 25 cm, almost without runners, flowers and fruits small, flowers early summer and again in autumn'Variegata' - leaves variegated cream and grey-green What is a fruit?

The juicy, edible part of a strawberry plant that is generally known as the fruit is in fact a swollen receptacle, on the surface of which the true fruits (resembling red or yellow pips) are embedded.

Uses

The fragrant, juicy fruits of woodland strawberry have long been picked and eaten in the wild and provide a tasty treat for travellers today.

Potentilla vesca was probably cultivated by the ancient Romans and Greeks and was grown across Europe by the 1300s. The plants produce rooted runners bearing small clusters of leaves, which can easily be removed from the parent plant and transported elsewhere for cultivation.

A 16th century recipe for strawberry shortcake includes woodland strawberry and almond flour in its ingredients.

Woodland strawberry is rarely cultivated on a commercial scale due to the small size of the fruits and low yield, but the fruits are perceived by many to have a superior flavour and are used in patisserie, particularly in France and central Europe. The cultivar Potentilla vesca 'Semperflorens', known as alpine strawberry, is a favourite for use in for European pastries.

With its glossy green leaves and pretty white flowers, woodland strawberry can be planted as a semi-ornamental in herb and vegetable gardens. Potentilla vesca 'Alexandria' and P. vesca 'Alpine Yellow' are attractive cultivars for this purpose.

Commercial strawberry production

The main hybrid used in commercial strawberry production is Potentilla × ananassa . It was produced by crossing two American species, P. virginiana (a woodland species from eastern USA) and P. chiloensis (west coast pine strawberry, from the western coast of North and South America).

Strawberries are an economically important crop, produced in significant quantities in more than 75 countries, with an annual production of more than 4000 megatonnes.

They are used in desserts, jams, jellies, ice-cream, syrups, juices and bakery products (including strawberry shortcake) and are also sold fresh, canned, frozen, dried and freeze-dried. Fresh strawberries are traditionally eaten with cream in the UK or sour cream elsewhere in Europe.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Fourteen collections of Potentilla vesca seeds are held in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.

This species at Kew

Potentilla vesca can be seen growing in the Queen's Garden (behind Kew Palace) and the Conservation Area at Kew.

Dried and spirit-preserved specimens of Potentilla vesca are held in Kew's Herbarium where they are available to researchers by appointment. 

Specimens of seeds of Potentilla vesca are held in Kew's Economic Botany Collection, where they are available to researchers by appointment.

Distribution
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA
Ecology
Open woodland and scrub, especially on lime-rich soils.
Conservation
Widespread and not considered to be threatened.
Hazards

Skin contact with 'fruits' and leaves can cause a raised, itchy rash in sensitised individuals; ingestion of 'fruits' can affect the skin, gastrointestinal system or respiratory system of sensitised individuals.

[UNAL]
Vernacular
Fresa, Frutilla

[CPLC]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 1500 - 3500 m.; Andes.
Morphology General Habit
Hierba

[UPB]
Use Gene Sources
Crop wild relatives which may possess beneficial traits of value in breeding programmes (State of the World's Plants 2016).
Use Medicines Unspecified Medicinal Disorders
Medicinal (Instituto Humboldt 2014).

[KSP]
Use
Food and drink.

Native to:

Albania, Alberta, Altay, Arizona, Austria, Azores, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, British Columbia, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, California, Central European Rus, Colorado, Connecticut, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East European Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iran, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Krasnoyarsk, Krym, Lebanon-Syria, Madeira, Maine, Manitoba, Massachusetts, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Netherlands, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Newfoundland, North Carolina, North Caucasus, North Dakota, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Northwest Territorie, Norway, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Poland, Portugal, Québec, Romania, Sardegna, Saskatchewan, Sicilia, South Dakota, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Texas, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Tuva, Ukraine, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Siberia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Xinjiang, Yugoslavia

Introduced into:

Argentina Northwest, Baleares, Bolivia, Brazil South, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Ecuador, Hawaii, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jawa, Kenya, Malaya, Manchuria, Mauritius, New Guinea, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Northern Provinces, Philippines, Rwanda, Réunion, Sumatera, Tanzania, Tennessee, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia

English
Woodland strawberry
Spanish
Frutilla, fresa.

Fragaria vesca L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 2007 Rico, L. [1733], Armenia K000297309
Ross-Craig, S., United Kingdom 15631.000
Richards, H.M. [14129], Tanzania 4968.000
Spruce, R. [5465], Ecuador K000006092
Spruce, R. [5465], Ecuador K000006093
Cope, T.A. [RBG 312], Great Britain K000914190

First published in Sp. Pl.: 494 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Ackerfield, J. (2015). Flora of Colorado: 1-818. BRIT Press.
  • Aké Assi, L. (2002). Flore de la Côte-d'Ivoire: catalogue systématique, biogéographie et écologie. II Boissiera 58: 1-401.
  • Bailey, C. & al. (2015). Guide to the Vascular Plants of Tennessee: 1-813. University of Tennessee press.
  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Bosser, J. & al. (eds.) (1997). Flore des Mascareignes 81-89: 1. IRD Éditions, MSIRI, RBG-Kew, Paris.
  • Browicz, K. & al. (1969). Rosaceae I Flora Iranica 66: 1-217. Naturhistorisches Museums Wien.
  • Davis, P.H. (ed.) (1972). Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 4: 1-657. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2013). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 5: 1-451. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2014). Flora of North America North of Mexico 9: 1-713. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Graham, R.A. (1960). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Rosaceae: 1-61.
  • Hansen, A. & Sunding, P. (1993). Flora of Macaronesia. Checklist of vascular plants. 4. revised edition Sommerfeltia 17: 1-295.
  • Harling, G. & Andersson, L. (eds.) (1996). Flora of Ecuador 56: 1-169. Gothenburg University.
  • Jørgensen, P.M. & León-Yánez, S. (eds.) (1999). Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 75: i-viii, 1-1181. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Kurtto, A., Lampinen, R. & Junikka, L. (2004). Atlas Florae Europaeae. Distribution of vascular plants in Europe 13: 1-320.
  • Lazkov, G.A. & Sultanova, B.A. (2011). Checklist of vascular plants of Kyrgyzstan Norrlinia 24: 1-166.
  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2014). Vascular Flora of Illinois. A Field Guide, ed. 4: 1-536. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.
  • Mouterde, P. in Mouterde, P. (1986). Nouvelle flore du Liban se de la Syrie 2: 1-727. Dar El-Machreq Sarl, Beyrouth, Liban.
  • Nielsen, I.C. & al. (1992-1994). Flora Malesiana 11: 1-768. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta.
  • Paelov, N.V. (ed.) in Pavlov, N.V. (ed.) (1961). Flora Kazakhstana 4: 1-546. Alma-Ata, Izd-vo Akademii nauk Kazakhskoi SSR.
  • Polozhij, A.V. & Malyschev (eds.) (2004). Flora of Siberia 8: 1-197. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Enfield, Plymouth.
  • Troupin, G. (ed.) (1978). Flora du Rwanda 1: 1-413. Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 2: 989-1918. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R. & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. Botany division, D.S.I.R., Christchurch.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2003). Flora of China 9: 1-494. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Bowling, B. L. (2000). The Berry Grower’s Companion. Timber Press Inc., Portland, Oregon.
  • Davidson, A. (2006). The Oxford Companion to Food. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press Inc., New York.
  • Hancock, J. F. (2004). Plant Evolution and the Origin of Crop Species. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxon.
  • Kole, C. (ed) (2011). Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources, Temperate Fruits. Springer, Berlin & Heidelberg.
  • Mabberley, D. J. (2002). Potentilla and Fragaria (Rosaceae) reunited. Telopea 9: 793 –801.
  • Mabberley, D. J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Mabey, R. (1997). Flora Britannica. Chatto & Windus, London.
  • Vaughan, J. G. & Geissler, C. A. (1999). The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • ColPlantA (2021). "ColPlantA. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.colplanta.org/"

Useful Plants of Boyacá Project

  • Crop wild relative Inventory https://www.cwrdiversity.org/checklist/ in The State of the World’s Plants Report–2016. (2016). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew https://stateoftheworldsplants.org/2016/
  • Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humbodlt (2014). Plantas alimenticias y medicinales nativas de Colombia. 2567 registros, aportados por: Castellanos, C. (Contacto del recurso), Valderrama, N. (Creador del recurso, Autor), Castro, C. (Proveedor de metadatos), Bernal, Y. (Autor), García, N. (Autor). Versión 11.0. http://i2d.humboldt.org.co/ceiba/resource.do?r=ls_colombia_magnoliophyta_2014

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Ackerfield, J. (2015). Flora of Colorado: 1-818. BRIT Press.
  • Aké Assi, L. (2002). Flore de la Côte-d'Ivoire: catalogue systématique, biogéographie et écologie. II Boissiera 58: 1-401.
  • Bailey, C. & al. (2015). Guide to the Vascular Plants of Tennessee: 1-813. University of Tennessee press.
  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Bosser, J. & al. (eds.) (1997). Flore des Mascareignes 81-89: 1. IRD Éditions, MSIRI, RBG-Kew, Paris.
  • Browicz, K. & al. (1969). Rosaceae I Flora Iranica 66: 1-217. Naturhistorisches Museums Wien.
  • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2013). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 5: 1-451. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2014). Flora of North America North of Mexico 9: 1-713. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Graham, R.A. (1960). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Rosaceae: 1-61.
  • Hansen, A. & Sunding, P. (1993). Flora of Macaronesia. Checklist of vascular plants. 4. revised edition Sommerfeltia 17: 1-295.
  • Harling, G. & Andersson, L. (eds.) (1996). Flora of Ecuador 56: 1-169. Gothenburg University.
  • Iwatsuki, K., Boufford, D.E. & Ohba, H. (eds.) (2001). Flora of Japan IIb: 1-550. Kodansha Ltd., Tokyo.
  • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Kurtto, A., Lampinen, R. & Junikka, L. (2004). Atlas Florae Europaeae. Distribution of vascular plants in Europe 13: 1-320.
  • Lazkov, G.A. & Sultanova, B.A. (2011). Checklist of vascular plants of Kyrgyzstan Norrlinia 24: 1-166.
  • Lei, J.J. & al. (2017). The Fragaria species native to China and their geographical distribution Acta Horticulturae 1156: 37-46.
  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2014). Vascular Flora of Illinois. A Field Guide, ed. 4: 1-536. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.
  • Nielsen, I.C. & al. (1992-1994). Flora Malesiana 11: 1-768. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta.
  • Paelov, N.V. (ed.) in Pavlov, N.V. (ed.) (1961). Flora Kazakhstana 4: 1-546. Alma-Ata, Izd-vo Akademii nauk Kazakhskoi SSR.
  • Polozhij, A.V. & Malyschev (eds.) (2004). Flora of Siberia 8: 1-197. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Enfield, Plymouth.
  • Troupin, G. (ed.) (1978). Flora du Rwanda 1: 1-413. Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 2: 989-1918. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R. & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. Botany division, D.S.I.R., Christchurch.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2003). Flora of China 9: 1-494. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).
  • Zuloaga, F.O., Morrone, O. , Belgrano, M.J., Marticorena, C. & Marchesi, E. (eds.) (2008). Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 107: 1-3348. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • von Raab-Straube, E. (ed.) (2005-continuously updated). The Euro+Med PlantBase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity http://ww2.bgbm.org/EuroPlusMed/query.asp.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Benth. & Hook, f., Brit. Fl., ed. 7: 140 (1924).
  • Hegi, Illustr. Fl. Mitt.-Europa, 4: 899, fig. 1157 (1922).
  • Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 2: 344 (1878).
  • L., Sp. Pl.: 494 (1753).

Universidad Nacional de Colombia

  • Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. (2014). Plantas alimenticias y medicinales nativas de Colombia. 2567 registros, aportados por: Castellanos, C. (Contacto del recurso), Valderrama, N. (Creador del recurso, Autor), Bernal, Y. (Autor), García, N. (Autor). http://i2d.humboldt.org.co/ceiba/resource.do?r=ls_colombia_magnoliophyta_2014

Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Universidad Nacional de Colombia
ColPlantA database
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Useful Plants of Boyacá Project
ColPlantA database
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/