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Potentilla vesca (woodland strawberry)

A perennial herb from Europe, temperate Asia and North America, woodland strawberry has small, delicate 'fruits', considered by many to be superior in flavour to commercial strawberries.
woodland strawberry fruit

Potentilla vesca (woodland strawberry) (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Potentilla vesca (L.) Scop.

Common name: 

woodland strawberry, wild strawberry

Conservation status: 

Widespread and not considered to be threatened.


Open woodland and scrub, especially on lime-rich soils.

Key Uses: 

Food and drink.

Known 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.


Genus: Potentilla

About this species

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.


Fragaria vesca L., Fragaria chinensis Losinsk., Fragaria concolor Kitag.


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