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The European subspecies of Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca vesca) is cultivated for its attractive foliage, flowers, and fruit. Different cultivars of this subspecies can vary in regards to the appearance of their fruits, length of bloom, and tendency to form stolons. It is somewhat difficult to distinguish the American subspecies of Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca americana) from its European counterpart. In general, the American subspecies has leaves that are more thin and delicate, appressed hairs along its petioles and flowering stalks (rather than spreading hairs), slightly smaller flowers, and more conical and elongated fruits (although this last characteristic is less reliable). Notwithstanding these distinctions, the traits of these two subspecies can overlap to some extent. Regardless of subspecies, the Woodland Strawberry can be distinguished from the Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) by having the terminal teeth of its leaflets as long or longer than the adjacent teeth, spreading or reflexed sepals on its fruits (rather than appressed), achenes on the surface of its fruits rather than enclosed in pits, and fruits that are more elongated and conical in shape (as opposed to globoid or ovoid in shape). Interestingly, the Woodland Strawberry and Wild Strawberry cannot hybridize with each other because of genetic incompatibility. More specifically, the Woodland Strawberry is diploid with 2 sets of chromosomes, while the Woodland Strawberry is octoploid with 8 sets of chromosomes.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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