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Plant Description


Geum fragarioides (Michx.) Smedmark

En: dry strawberry, barren strawberry
Fr: waldsteinie faux-fraisier

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Click on thumbnail to see larger image.
Geum fragarioideshab Geum fragarioidesflpl Geum fragarioidesflw Geum fragarioidesscan


General: A low perennial forb, 1–2 dm tall, hairy, spreading by thin stolons, like a strawberry.

Leaves: Basal, compound, with 3 leaflets (trifoliate), pinnately-veined, thin (membranaceous), hairy, long-petiolate. Leaflet blades obovate; light green above, slightly paler beneath and prominently veined; the bases tapering (cuneate); apices rounded, divided into several shallow to deep lobes; margins of the upper half of the leaflets with broad blunt teeth (serrate), petiole about 1 dm long, hairy.

Flowers: Bisexual, yellow, in a few-flowered cluster (cyme), terminating a hairy stalk (scape), each flower also stalked (pedicellate). Calyx forming a hypanthium with 5 triangular, sharply pointed (acuminate) lobes, 2–7.5 mm long, lacking extra bracts (epicalyx) on the lower surface of the hypanthium; petals 5, yellow, elliptic to obovate, blunt, 5–10 mm long, 3–6 mm wide, longer than the calyx lobes; stamens many; pistils 2–6, the ovaries contained within the hypanthium, the styles protruding. Flowers bloom in late May to early June.

Fruit: Small achenes, contained within the herbaceous calyx.

Habitat and Range: Deciduous and pine forests, clearings, particularly on dry sandy soils in northern Ontario, and associated with Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern). The barren strawberry is native to northeastern North America. Common in southern and eastern Ontario, the barren strawberry has been found as far west as Thessalon (Kirkwood Forest); it has also been reported from south of Timmins, but no specimens was taken (D. Ropke, pers. comm. 2004).

Internet Images: See the Waldsteinia fragarioides webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society.

Similar Species: The leaves of Waldsteinia look similar to the leaves of Coptis trifolia (goldthread), but Waldsteinia leaves are lighter green, larger, and thinner (membranaceous), while Coptis leaves have dark green, coriaceous leaves that persist over winter. Compare the Coptis trifolia webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society.

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