Indian strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Fragaria indica Andrews
Potentilla indica (Andrews) Th. Wolf
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for Indian
strawberry is Duchesnea indica (Andrews) Focke.
NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Indian Strawberry is a prostrate, creeping plant which produces
roots at the leaf nodes.
Leaves: Indian strawberry has alternate leaflets; first few leaves are sim-
ple, rest are trifoliates. Leaflets are toothed with dense hair on upper sur-
face and with long, hairy petioles with leaf-like stipules (basal append-
ages). The leaflets margins have roundish teeth. The leaflet is oval/egg-shaped/elliptical, 1/2" - 2" wide, and have pinnaate leaf venation.
Flowers: Single flowers with five yellow petals are borne on long stalks
from the leaf axils. The yellow blossoms rise 1 to 4 inches above the stem.
Fruit/Seeds: The fruit is red and fleshy and similar in appearance to the commercial strawberry though smaller and tasteless. The seeds are red and
cover the fruit.
Roots: Indian strawberry has fibrous roots, with spreading by hairy stolons (runners).
REGENERATION PROCESS: Indian strawberry propogates itself by
reseeding and vegetative spread.
HABITAT TYPES: Indian strawberry occurs in semi-shaded areas of
lawns primarily, where it can adapt to a regimen of regular mowing be-
cause of its low-growing habit. This species was introduced from southern
Asia as an ornamental plant.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Indian strawberry prefers partial sunlight,
fertile soil, and moist to mesic conditions. In open semi-shaded situations,
it can spread aggressively to form a ground cover.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from late
spring to mid-summer and lasts about a month.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Indian strawberry occurs throughout the
entire eastern portion of the United States, from Florida to New York (it
does not extend into New England states. It occurs westward as far as
Texas and intermittently north. It does not naturally occur in the upper
Plains states, southwest or Rocky Mountain states. It does reappear in the
far western states and provinces (California to British Columbia).
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: The flowers attract small bees and flower
flies. Birds probably eat the drupes and spread them around, although the
drupes of Indian strawberry appear to be less attractive to native birds than
those of Fragaria virginica (wild strawberry). Rabbits probably eat the
foliage of this species. The drupes are unsuitable for human consumption.
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