Strawberries are available in many types; the regular and the wild. Regular strawberries are mainly found on farms and in grocery stores. The Wild strawberries, on the other hand, grow naturally in the woods. But the question is, ”are wild strawberries safe to eat?”.
Yes! Wild strawberries are safe for humans as long as they are not eaten in excess. These wild strawberries have high levels of acidity that can affect you if consumed in excess. So in this article, we will learn more about whether strawberries are safe to eat and so much more about them. Let’s begin.
What are wild strawberries?
Wild strawberries, also known as Fragaria Virginiana, are herbaceous plants belonging to the rose family. These strawberries grow naturally in the Northern hemisphere, and they produce edible strawberry fruits.
The wild strawberry plant produces runners that spread along the ground and start rooting. Once a strawberry runner roots, a new strawberry plant is born. The wild strawberries are quite another version of the regular domesticated strawberry as they have similar tastes, but the wild ones are more FLAVORFUL.
The wild strawberry plant produces small strawberries with darker red color compared to the regular ones. These strawberries look just like the white varieties you find in stores. Depending on their growing conditions, they can be as big as a thumb or as small as your pinky fingernail.
The wild strawberries, just like the regular ones, have plenty of seeds around them. These seeds(achenes) are edible. Wild strawberries aren’t domesticated because of their small size and low yield, despite having a much superior taste to the commercially grown strawberry.
What does wild strawberry look like?
Wild strawberries look quite the miniature version of regular strawberries. The only distinguishable feature is their color. The exterior color red in wild strawberries is relatively darker than the lighter red color in the regular strawberries.
The wild variety has hairy undersides, and their leaves are trifoliate with long hairy petioles and toothed edges. The color leaves of strawberry plants range from green to bluish-green on the top side and light green on the underside.
Wild strawberry flowers are white and grow in clusters with a golden center. They usually bloom at the stem end. These flowers have small bracts at the point where the flower stalks diverge. The flowers later produce some red strawberries with the achenes(seed) held in the shallow pit of the drupe.
How to identify wild strawberries
Spotting a wild strawberry is pretty straightforward. And as these strawberries start to bloom, we are always confident that summertime is knocking. You might even find some wild strawberries growing in your backyard. But can you differentiate between a regular and a wild strawberry with ease? Check out how to identify wild strawberries.
Their dark red color gives them a unique look. The fruits’ small size is also another thing that is so notable. On the outsides of wild strawberries are tiny seeds surrounding every strawberry. Upon a close look, you will also note that the top puffy part is hairy and has this whitish-like color. This is unlike the regular strawberries that have more of a pinkish hue.
Wild strawberries have compound leaves with three leaflets. These leaflets have toothed edges. A young strawberry leaf has a shiny appearance that keeps darkening as the plant matures. The leaves’ surface is hairy, and the bottom part is rather pale compared to the top side.
Wild strawberries flower from April to July. The plant produces white flowers that feature a pinkish color at times. These flowers are small, with 5 petals attached close to each other and 5 sepals.
Types of wild strawberries
There are 2 main types of delicious wild berries you can get. They efficiently do well in almost any environment and are as healthy as the regular ones. One thing they are rich in is nutrients and plant compounds. Here are the types of wild strawberries:
A. True wild strawberries
Real strawberries can be found in meadows or on hiking trails and are pretty nutritious. They include these species:
- Beach strawberries
Beach strawberries thrive in areas with coastal dunes like North Carolina, Washington, and the Oregon coast. These strawberries are usually smaller compared to other types of strawberries. Their small size makes them popular among children as they require little preparation before eating them. The beach strawberry plant has thick leaves that are a bit leathery.
- Alpine strawberry
These strawberries are found in North America, Central Europe, and South Africa. They have a tart yet intense wild flavor and are best used in cooking. Alpine strawberries ripen in small quantities; a reason they are so expensive. They should be consumed when fully ripe; otherwise, you will be eating into a cotton-like mess.
- Woodland strawberry
woodland strawberries are found in Africa, North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. These strawberries are found in many habitats like mixed woods and damp ledges.
- Coastal dune strawberries
famous for their sweet taste; coastal dunes are small, just like the beach strawberry variety. They are also easy to pick and are enjoyed in salads, cream cheese, or on toast.
- Colombian strawberries
This variety is famous in different countries worldwide and is celebrated for its sweet flavor. They are a little large compared to the coastal dune, and they have a bright red color.
B. Mock or false strawberries
Also known as Indian strawberries, these mock strawberries are pretty similar to the true strawberries. You can easily distinguish them with flowers as they bloom yellow while true wild strawberries bloom white flowers.
Are wild strawberries edible?
Many people believe that wild strawberries are poisonous, which is not a correct misconception. Contrary to what the majority believe, wild strawberries are edible. They are delicious and can be eaten in so many ways. There, however, are two types of wild strawberries; the true wild strawberries and the mock wild strawberries.
Wild strawberries are pretty delicious and have a similar taste to regular strawberries. Their flavor is even more intense compared to that of the regular ones. On the other hand, Mock strawberries might not be as delicious, but they cause no harm to your body when eaten. The downward side of eating the mock wild strawberry is that they leave a bland taste in your mouth. A taste you wouldn’t want lingering in your mouth.
Are wild strawberries poisonous to humans?
No! wild strawberries are very much edible and so tasty. So you can add them to those sweet treats like in chocolate fondue. You benefit from packs of healthy nutrients from these wild strawberries. The mock strawberries have no flavor, but they are edible. So as long as you are not allergic to strawberries, you can consume them without worry.
Wild strawberries versus regular strawberries
Both the wild and regular strawberries benefit our bodies. They have vitamin C, folate and are cholesterol-free.
The regular strawberries are a hybrid species created by crossing several strawberry varieties. In 1700, only the Fragaria Vesca species existed in France but was relatively small. So the French saw the American strawberry that was large in size and crossed the American and French species that gave birth to the modern-day strawberry. On the other hand, wild strawberries have not been cross-bred, and they grow naturally from the soil.
Regular strawberries have a sweet, juicy taste with a bit of tartness. This is unlike the wild strawberries that have a strong sweet taste. Strawberries’ taste, however, is more precious when picked straight from the plant. When left to sit for long, they start developing a tart taste and changes in texture.
Regular strawberries have high levels of vitamin C and tannins. That makes them perfect in tooth whitening and in boosting your immune system. On the other hand, wild strawberries have stringy leaves that can treat diarrhea and female hormonal imbalances, while the fruit is known to reduce gout problems and relieve pain.
Wild strawberries vs. mock strawberries
Wild strawberries and mock strawberries can be pretty confusing. Firstly, because they look similar and secondly because they both grow in the wild. Truth is, there are differences in the two that include:
- Wild strawberries are herbaceous plants grown in Unites states, while mock strawberries were initially used as an ornamental flower.
- Wild strawberries have white flowers, while mock strawberries have yellow ones.
- Wild strawberries have a strong flavor and smell compared to mock strawberries that have no scent or taste.
- Wild strawberries are juicier and soft, while mock strawberries are dry, hard, and crunchy.
- Wild strawberries are sweet, while mock strawberries have some tartness in them.
- Mock strawberries tend to grow while pointing straight up, unlike the wild strawberries that just hang on vines and tend to hide beneath the leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQS)
What are fake wild strawberries?
Fake or false wild strawberries are often confused with wild strawberries. The fake wild strawberries have trifoliate leaves and stolon; they also have yellow flowers, unlike the white flowers in wild strawberries.
Are woodland wild strawberries edible?
Yes! The woodland wild strawberries fruits are bright red in color and have a superior taste.
So, are wild strawberries safe to eat? Yes! As long as you have identified the wild strawberry correctly, it is safe to be eaten. Just be keen, so you do not end up eating the wrong type of strawberry that could cost health problems.