Plants that look like strawberries can be weeds or other plants grown internationally for specific purposes. Some of these plants are related to strawberry plants of the genus Fragaria, while others are similar to strawberry plants in looks alone.
Strawberry plant lookalikes mostly resemble the plant with their leaves, and some of them even produce fruits. It would take a careful examination for you to distinguish between the false strawberry plants and the real deal-keep reading to find out more.
JUMP TO TOPIC
Different Plants That Look Like Strawberries
Potentilla indica, is also commonly called the cinquefoils, or Indian strawberry, and even the barren strawberry, has an uncanny resemblance to the actual plant. Whichever name you know them as Indian strawberry plants are flowering plants from the rose family.
They are ornamental plants originating from some parts of Asia but have been naturalized in many other places worldwide.
Although there are numerous species of cinquefoil, they all have similar characteristics. They feature yellow flowers and lobed leaves. The name cinquefoil, which in Latin means “five leaves”, comes from the fact that the flowers are often five petaled just like the features of this one.
They are low-growing weedy plants that cling to the ground and sprout runners. As a result, they are known as invasive species in some parts of the world. They grow about five feet tall. These plants produce fruits intermittently between April and June; their fruiting sometimes runs into September.
Cinquefoils can be challenging to distinguish since they look almost identical to regular strawberries. They are similar to strawberries in many ways. At first glance, the shape of the plant resembles the strawberry plant. They produce fruits and grow in similar locations as strawberry plants. Some species have leaves that are similar to the leaves of the vine of the strawberry.
Unlike strawberries, several species of cinquefoil produce brown fruits that are dry, winged, and inedible. Others don’t produce fruits. One significant way to differentiate between cinquefoils and regular strawberry plants is through their blooms.
On another note, the plants grow taller and develop yellow flowers that differ from the white or pink flowers of actual strawberry plants. Furthermore, cinquefoil leaves have significantly more defined lobes than strawberry leaves, and they have hairy stems, unlike strawberry plants, which have smooth stems.
– Important Uses
Cinquefoils have one important use, in the past, people crushed cinquefoil leaves to make a salve to treat different skin conditions, because it worked like a charm. An example of a skin condition it was said to work on is the common Eczema.
2. Mock Strawberries
Duchesnea indica is another strawberry-lookalike plant. These plants are indigenous to the eastern and Southern parts of Asia and have been naturalized in several other regions. Mock strawberries are ornamental perennial plants that are regarded as weeds in some areas. They can become particularly problematic when they grow alongside other ground covers on shady lawns.
These look-alikes have various uses, most of which are medical uses, as their leaves can be used as salves to treat, burns, boils, and other skin conditions like Eczema or ringworm. These salves are applied topically, in addition, the entire plant has antibacterial and anticoagulant properties and, as such, can sometimes be used to treat infections.
Mock Strawberry belongs to the rose family, just like actual strawberries, and they can be found growing in most places where strawberries can grow. These faux strawberry plants are ground cover plants that grow slowly and only get as tall as four inches, and they would thrive through this.
These fruit are ones that would bear tiny red fruits that are seeded, and they produce white blooms during their blooming seasons.
Additionally, mock strawberry seeds and leaves are edible and contain many beneficial components such as vitamin C, proteins, and Iron. As a result, they’re often used in medicine as herbs.
Some people crush the leaves and apply them topically to treat boils, burns, and other skin conditions. In addition, you can mock strawberry fruits and leaves in salads for added health benefits.
One significant similarity between mock strawberries and actual strawberries is their fruits and how they would be featured as when they establish themselves. Just like real strawberries, mock strawberries produce edible red fruits that are seeded. They also grow trifoliate leaves with rough edges and small white blooms like strawberry plants.
While their fruits are safe for consumption, mock strawberries differ from true strawberries in their taste. Their fruits are bland and can sometimes be bitter. However, they lack the juicy flavor of regular strawberries.
In addition, while mock strawberries produce seeds like regular strawberries, their surfaces are usually bumpier because of their protruding seeds. Lastly, note that unlike real strawberries, mock strawberries are considered weeds.
3. Wild Strawberries
Suppose you see tiny, luscious red strawberries growing along the grassy borders of limestone and chalk downlands, forests, or open fields. In that case, you’re more than likely looking at wild strawberries , also known as Alpine, woodland, or European strawberries.
These flowering plants belong to the Rosaceae family and grow abundantly in the Northern Hemisphere. As its name implies, the wild strawberry plant grows more in the wild than the garden strawberry. They are also less frequently grown in gardens than true strawberries since they yield fewer fruits, and this is a prominent feature that they have.
Wild Strawberries are ones that have long, hairy green stems that bear showy white flowers with yellow centers that are soft and hairy, and usually rise above the foliage.
By the same token, their leaves are shiny and trifoliate and have serrated edges with woolly undersides, and when they produce flowers, they would bloom between April and July, after which their fruits emerge.
Although their seeds are useful in propagating them, they mostly grow and spread through above-ground runners. Wild strawberries can reach a height of six inches. They like dry, somewhat shaded environments. It’s important to note that these plants can harm people’s skin, so you should handle them carefully.
– Similarities With Strawberries
Upon looking at wild strawberries, you cannot quickly tell they aren’t garden strawberries. They are uncannily similar to strawberry plants in that they produce the same juicy red fruits that strawberry plants grow. Also, they have trifoliate green leaves, similar to regular strawberry plants.
– Differences From Strawberries
Despite the numerous Similarities between wild strawberries and garden strawberries, there are still ways to differentiate between them. One primary distinction is the difference in the sizes and shapes of their leaves. Compared to the famous strawberry plants, wild strawberry plants’ leaves grow smaller.
On the other hand, another feature that they have which is more different is their leaves and how triangular they are when in comparison to regular strawberry plants, which have more oval-shaped leaves.
Another significant difference is in the size and flavor of the fruits. Wild strawberries are considerably smaller in size than regular strawberries, and they produce fewer fruits. However, they are very flavorful, and many prefer them to garden strawberries as a result.
– Important Uses
Wild Strawberries are versatile plants and can be used for a variety of things, as their most common use is in cosmetics. They’re used in beauty products like face washes and creams to whiten skin and fade stubborn spots and freckles, through their health properties.
This practice is old, but the knowledge isn’t lost. Also, the plants are cultivated as ornamental plants in gardens because of their glossy foliage, stunning blooms, and bright red fruits.
Wild strawberries have many health benefits. They can be used as a stimulant or laxatives. Additionally, their flavor-packed fruits are used to make jams, jelly, drinks, and many pastries. Also, the plants have been used widely to treat fevers in farm animals.
4. Wood Strawberry
Fragaria Californica, also known as wood strawberry or Californica strawberry, is a perennial garden strawberry lookalike. Wood Strawberry plants are linked to regular strawberries; they belong to the same family.
Much like regular strawberry plants, they grow trifoliate leaves with serrated edges. These plants thrive and spread with their above-ground runners in hardiness zones 5 to 9. They are occasionally used as ground cover and are generally known as an Invasive specie.
Wood Strawberry plants produce fragrant white blooms with bright yellow cores, which later form edible fruits. Although their fruits look great, some cultivars, especially the ones found growing in the wild, don’t taste great.
On another note, these fruits are great for planting along sidewalks or courtyards that are shaded and have moist soils. These plants can tolerate some cold and will withstand temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, after which is when they would become dormant.
Wood Strawberries, much like regular strawberries, produce luscious red fruits. Some varieties of the fruit are flavourful, like traditional strawberries. However, in comparison to real strawberries, they produce white flowers that bloom in early spring.
At the same time, they also belong to the same Rosaceae family of true strawberries. Another major similarity is the shape of their leaves. Wood Strawberries grow trifoliate leaves with jagged edges just like true strawberry plants.
You might only be able to tell wood strawberry plants apart from true strawberry plants once they begin to produce fruits. It’s easier to tell them apart by their fruits because wood strawberry plants have fruits with a more cone-like shape.
Furthermore, the fruits are seeded, and these seeds form protrusions all over the surface of the fruit, unlike true strawberry fruits, which have rounder shapes and embedded seeds.
– Important Uses
The roots and leaves of wood strawberries have really important uses in medicine. Native Americans boiled the roots and used the tea to treat stomach issues, menstrual pain, and diseases like jaundice in the past.
The leaves were also used to treat indigestion and purify the blood. Wood Strawberry roots have been known to serve as a temporary replacement for toothbrushes- the roots are chewed on to clean the teeth.
We’ve established that there are plants that look like strawberries, most of which are common garden greens. In this article, we’ve pointed out a few of their Similarities and differences from true strawberries, as well as some other useful information. From the post, you can see that:
- Some strawberry lookalikes are invasive plants and so should be managed properly. However, they are challenging to tell apart from garden strawberries.
- Strawberry lookalikes can have similar leaves, fruits, or flowers to true strawberry plants. While you might stumble upon some strawberry lookalikes in woodlands or along a trail, some of these plants grow as weeds in gardens.
- Most plants that look like strawberries belong to the same plant family as them.
- Some of the fruit, like wild strawberries, would have the ability to tolerate freezing temperature, but when they cannot bear it, they would become dormant.
With the information in this article, you should be able to identify and differentiate false strawberries from the real deal.
- Mock Strawberry. iNaturalist Network.
Retrieved from https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/243824-Potentilla-indica
- (25-Jul-2019). Mock strawberry: A useful medicinal herb. CGTN.
Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/news.cgtn.com/news/2019-07-25/Mock-strawberry-A-useful-medicinal-herb-IClGX47OEw/share_amp.html
- Bert Wilson, Celeste Wilson. Fragaria californica. Las Pilitas Nursery.
Retrieved from https://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/311–fragaria-californica
- Wild strawberry. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Retrieved from https://www.kew.org/plants/wild-strawberry