Indian Strawberry

By William T. Hathaway

Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea indica)

In our younger days most of us were curious about that little red strawberry covered with pimples. This was the Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea indica) whose yellow flowers appeared from spring to early summer, followed by strawberry-like red berries in late summer. At that time the local scoop was, “Don't taste them snake strawberries.” Of course it was later learned that that these red berries had no remarkable flavor and were somewhat tasteless. Fortunately for most youngsters, who couldn't resist sneaking a quick taste, snake strawberries were not poisonous.

This little plant with dark green leaves spreads by runners and often becomes well established as a semi-evergreen perennial covering an extensive area. It is a member of the Rose family and is believed to have originated in East Asia. In the Eastern United States it has become naturalized in pastures, lawns, near buildings, and shady woodlands. Gardeners may find it useful as a ground cover. Indian Strawberry plants can be attractive in hanging baskets.