Plant A Day – Indian Strawberry

Indian Strawberry Duchesnea indica

Indian Strawberry
Duchesnea indica

Here’s a plant that looks a lot like a Yummy Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) but tastes like straw.   It’s not poisonous or bitter, just bland.

It originated from Asia and so the name refers to the country of India rather than a Native American sobriquet.  Although alien, I’ve never seen it as invasive or aggressive anywhere.  Whenever I see it, I think “yum yum, wild strawberries” but then I bend over to pick it and easily see that it is not a strawberry.

The plant is used in Asia for all sorts of medicinal purposes.  Apparently it cures just about everything.  I suppose that’s how it made its way to North America.  You can eat, smoke, decoct, poultice, infuse or do just about anything with any part of the plant, depending on what you want to cure.  You can even make an offering to the Indian gods if all else fails.

The flower is yellow, rather than white like real strawberries

The flower is yellow, rather than white like real strawberries

It can form sort of a ground cover

It can form sort of a ground cover

Here's one whole plant

Here’s one whole plant

The plant grows via stolons, which pop up a new "plant" every so often

The plant grows via stolons, which pop up a new “plant” every so often

The leaf looks a lot like a real strawberry leaf

The leaf looks a lot like a real strawberry leaf

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