When hiking with the uninitiated in the Niagara Frontier’s June wilds I like to tell them that they haven’t lived until they’ve had a wild strawberry.
The wild strawberry is nothing like our cultivated specimens. The flavor
is intense, at a magnitude of that of the farmed varieties. They are
juicier and seem like an entirely different fruit. Incredible.
After having one you can see why the French began developing and
cultivating strawberries in the 1700s. But, by doing so and making
larger fruits, they lost much of the flavor (don’t get me wrong – farm
raised strawberries are still pretty good).
“Larger fruits,” you ask?
Yes, wild strawberries are nothing like those developed by Man. They are tiny little things, from two-
tenths to four-tenths of an inch in length. You’d need to find dozens to
make for a snack of any size. And, that’s not going to happen. You’d be
lucky to find just one dozen strawberries in a patch. You can find
these berries during the second half of June, in open areas of
woodlands, pastures, and places that some naturalists consider “waste
areas” (roadsides, ditches, rail beds, etc).
They like full sun or else the plant cannot produce fruit. Prior to the
strawberry appearing, you will see a dainty white-petaled flower with a
yellow center that will stay in bloom for most of the second half of
The leaves have saw-toothed edges and come in threes. The adage “leaves of three, let it be,” (which
many people apply to poison ivy) has to be ignored if not altered, or
you could destroy these wonderful plants in your lawn or hedgerow.
While we’re talking about the strawberry, let’s end on a technical note. Maybe you’ll win Jeopardy! someday with this one.
The strawberry is not a berry. By definition a berry has seeds inside of
it. The seeds are on the outside of the strawberry, which means the
strawberry is an aggregate accessory fruit, which is a nicer way of
saying “ovary” (who really wants to say, “Boy! I could go for some
ovaries right now”?). Each of those individuals items that you see as
seeds on the outside of the strawberry are actually individual fruits
and the seeds are inside of them.
But, enough of the technical mumbo-jumbo. You really need to get away from the computer, go
outdoors and have a wild strawberry…you haven’t lived until you’ve done so.
From the 22 June 2017 All WNY News