How to distinguish between Wild (Fragaria virginiana) and Woodland (F. vesca) Strawberry

This time of year, the easiest way for me is a simple berry taste test. Virginia: mmm. Sweet, juicy. Smell great Woodland: bleh and dry (and no smell).

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered F. vesca and looking at the BONAP map and considering that I mostly do my observations in the Southern Appalachians (NC, TN border) that doesn’t seem surprising. Yet, I see plenty of observations ID’d as F. vesca around here and well further south all the way to the gulf coast and into Florida. Almost all of them have the computer vision symbol. It seems to be one of those things that the CV keeps suggesting erroneously and would need a bit of cleanup on all of the out-of-range suggestions in the southeastern US to cut down on it coming up in the “seen nearby” suggestions.

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I found a staminate Fragaria flower, though on an external site; however, it is Fragaria viridis, a species native to Europe and Central Asia. Pay attention to the lack of pistils. This species is dioecious, that is, the entire plant produces either pistillate or staminate flowers.

This species does not grow in North America, so all IDs are very suspect. Note that a hermaphrodite flower disqualifies it as F. viridis.

Yes, indeed. There are also Green Strawberries listed in the US, even though these are European and central Asian. I try to go through them state by state, changing the ID and getting confirmation from other identifiers.

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Some observations are a little tricky. For instance, this one, from the SW biodiversity website, taken by Tony Frates:

What is it?

Another one to ID:

This picture features Fragaria vesca (subspecies bracteata) in the left center but all margins show more smooth leaves of Fragaria virginiana. See
It is also available on iNat here:

This one is even more confusing, because, in addition to two Fragaria species, there are some Rubus leaves, which can easily be confused with Fragaria vesca, especially since they are the same lighter shade of green. The Rubus leaves have deeper cuts on the lower side of the side leaflets and their outline is more triangular toward the leaflet tips.

It is even hard to crop so only one species is in the picture.

How about Fragaria cascadensis? There is some disagreement on this observation of mine [update: now confirmed by several identifiers as Fragaria vesca]:


I wonder if the reverse is also true. Is F. virginiana present in Eurasia? The 19 observations there identified as such are oddly dispersed and may be worth checking for misidentifications.

Probably misidentifications. According to this map, there shouldn’t be any F. virginiana outside of North America.


In the first reference to the Wikipedia Cascadian Strawberry entry, by K. E. Hummel, you can read (I cite):

Leaves generally trifoliate, rarely quadri- or pentifoliate; slightly bluish green; adaxial surface with scattered appressed white hairs about 1 mm; not thick or coriaceous, and not reticulate-veiny beneath. Shape of leaflets variable, elongated to obovate, cuneiform or broadly round, truncate; margin variably serrate, entire to only upper third of leaflet; teeth small and pointed, rarely crenate, ciliate; distal tooth of the terminal leaflet always narrower and shorter than adjacent ones; accessory leaflets.”

Hummer, K. E. (2012). “A new species of Fragaria (Rosaceae) from Oregon”. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas : 9–15.

One can also find there, the differences between F. cascadensis and sympatric congeners F. chiloensis, F. vesca, and F. virginiana:

“Differs from F. chiloensis and F. × ananassa nothosp. cuneifolia by leaves not thick and coriaceous, not reticulate-veiny beneath.”

“Differs from F. vesca subsp. bracteata by leaves usually slightly bluish green, and distal tooth of terminal leaflet always shorter than adjacent teeth as compared with leaves Kelly green and distal tooth of terminal leaflet usually longer than adjacent teeth.”

“Differs from F. virginiana subsp. platypetala by leaves with adaxial, scattered, appressed white hairs (~1 mm) and achenes frequently comma-shaped, lateral stylar edge concave as compared with adaxial leaf surface glaucous and achenes dome-shaped with straight lateral stylar edge.”

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Please note that F. cascadensis cannot be discerned from Fragaria virginiana ssp. platypetala without a close-up of the upper surface of the leaves showing hairs or a close-up of the achenes showing the curvature of the lateral stylar edge. Therefore, pictures from afar cannot be confirmed.

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Edit: Original question post was: “How to differentiate Fragaria vesca ssp. vesca and Fragaria vesca ssp. americana”

I have difficulties to seperate these two subspecies of Fragaria vesca

Welcome to the forum!
I moved your question to this related thread and edited the post to include the question - you’ll probably get a better answer here!

I need help is this Fragaria vesca or fragaria virginiana? Anyone got a trick to easily differentiate these two?
thanks a lot

It’s me again! Could this be Fragaria vesca?

The forum isn’t for posting identification requests for specific specimens/observations, and it seems like this thread is heading to that, so I’ll close. For ID requests for specific specimens or observations, I would suggest making an observation on iNat and looking for IDers/tagging them there. You could look for some of the users that participated in this thread.