Indian Strawberry

Scientific name: Duchesnea indica
Abundance: uncommon
What: small red fruit, young leaves
How: fruit raw (tasteless/bland), leaves and flowers raw, cooked, or in a tea
Where: sunny or partially shaded fields, moist areas.
When: spring
Nutritional Value: vitamin C, iron, zinc, manganese
Dangers: none, the paragraph in red is so you can play a joke on your friends

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are alternate, typically arranged in a pattern where each leaf is positioned at a different height along the stem.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are trifoliate, meaning they are composed of three leaflets. Each leaflet is broadly ovate with a length of approximately 1" x 1" in size. across the entire leaf. Leaflets are about 0.5" across. leaflets may be lobed.

Leaf Venation: The venation is pinnate, with a central vein running along the length of each leaflet and smaller veins branching out from it.

Leaf Margin: The leaflet margins are coarsely toothed or serrated.

Leaf Color: The leaf color is a vibrant green on the upper surface and a paler green on the underside.

Flower Structure: The flowers have five petals and are located on long, slender stalks. Each flower has a diameter of about 0.5 to 1 inch.

Flower Color: The flowers are bright yellow.

Fruit: The fruit resembles a small strawberry, white skin with many red dots, but it is typically dry and bland flavored.

Seed: The seeds are small, yellowish-brown, and numerous.

Stem: The stems are thin, green, and can root at the nodes when they touch the ground.

Hairs: There are fine hairs along the stem and the lower surface of the leaves.

Height: The plant typically grows to a height of 4 to 6 inches.

Indian strawberry ground cover.

Close-up of the edible fruit.
Indian Strawberry Fruit IGFB13

Close-up of the flower.

Indian strawberry leaves.
Indian Strawberry Leaves IGFB13

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

These bright red berries and yellow flowers appear in sunny to partially sunny areas returning to wilderness or infrequently mowed. Sadly, these fruit actually have a bland, insipid taste. However, they are usually plentiful when in season and can supply a good dose of vitamins, minerals, flavanoids, and antioxidants. No one will notice Indian strawberries' lack of flavor when they're added to vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Okay, now here's how you use Indian Strawberries to play a practical joke on your friends. The following paragraph in red is completely fake. So, when you find some pop a few in your mouth and start talking about how sweet and delicious they are then offer a few to your friend. If they eat them and then state that they didn't have any flavor, you start to panic and explain a lack of flavor is an indication that the person is one of the ~10% of the population that is highly allergic to the Indian Strawberries. Bring up this webpage and show them the red-texted, paragraph at the end of this post.

WARNING!! Lack of flavor indicates you are missing the beta-cycqatrose enzyme needed to break down a toxic component found in Indian Strawberries. Seek medical help immediately as you may suffer incapacitating vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms usually take 20-30 minutes to appear. This occurs in less than 10% of the population.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

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