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Manitoba Museum

Rose (Rosaceae)

Smooth Wild Strawberry

Fragaria virginiana Duchesne

This prairie perennial has runners that spread from the parent plant and root in the ground to form new plants. Its pretty, white flowers are not scented, but attract birds, butterflies, flies, bees, moths and skippers. Its fleshy, delicious berries are eaten by many birds and mammals, which help spread the seeds in their feces. Fruits are also edible to humans, and the leaves can be used to make tea. Smooth Wild Strawberry has also been used for medicinal purposes.

Flower Colour:

  • White

Flowering Season:

  • Spring
  • Summer

Flowering Months:

  • April
  • July
  • June
  • May

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” in Nunavut.

Physical Appearance:

Hairy, trailing stems grow 5-25 cm tall, have several leafless runners, and root at the nodes. Hairy-stalked basal leaves occur in rosettes, and are divided into 3 egg-shaped leaflets with coarsely-toothed margins. White, stalked flowers occur in an open cluster of 2-15. Each one has five egg-shaped petals, about 20 stamens with yellow anthers, and a hairy, 5-lobed calyx. Nodding fruits are fleshy, rounded strawberries, covered with tiny, partly-sunken achenes.

Similar Species:

American Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are often available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Plants are a good addition to butterfly and woodland gardens. Propagation is best by separating rooted plantlets or by stolon/internode cuttings.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland/Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Alpine Zones
  • Forest Edges
  • Open Woodlands
  • Prairies
  • Roadsides
  • Rocky Slopes
  • Savannahs

Moisture Conditions:

  • Dry
  • Moderate

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Clay
  • Sand
Smooth Wild Strawberry