Weed That Looks Like Strawberry Plant: #3 Is 1 Of The Most Invasive

strawberry plant

A lot of us love to eat strawberries especially when they are in season. While in most areas, strawberries can be quite expensive, there are those who can simply grow them in their own greenhouses. Strawberries are also known to grow unexpectedly in many areas with the help of some animals.

With that in mind, there is no wonder why many gardeners or homeowners will get very excited as soon as they see what looks like strawberry plants growing and thriving in their garden. Unfortunately, there are weeds that can easily trick your eyes simply because they look very much like strawberry plants.

Strawberries typically have basal leaves and they usually grow through runners. Weeds that look like strawberry plants on the other hand, will tend to develop branches and grow vertically or upright. There are also weeds that can look very much like strawberries simply because they are closely related to it.

Weed That Looks Like Strawberry Plant: #3 Is 1 Of The Most Invasive

#1 The Cinquefoils

cinquefoils

Belonging to the Potentilla genus that is made up of as much as 300 plants, they are commonly found in North America as well as in other Northern continents of the world. Typically, cinquefoils can have palmate leaves. They can also have 3 – 15 leaflets that are arranged pinnately.

They look like real strawberries and their leaves can look identical at first glance. This plant can also have white flowers that look very similar to the ones that true strawberries have. And to top it all off, it can also bear fleshy, strawberry-shaped fruits.

Unfortunately, the fruits that this plant can produce are actually very dry and they are inedible. This is why the potentilla or the cinquefoil is also known as the barren strawberry. The fruits of this weed should not be consumed and you should try to remove it right away so you can keep your kids safe.

#2 The Wild Strawberries

wild strawberries

This plant is considered a weed and it is not capable of producing the same type of strawberries that we are used to buying in the market or grocery store. However, the wild strawberry is actually one of the plants used to develop the strawberry plants that are grow commercially today.

Wild strawberries can actually grow unexpectedly in your garden with the help of birds and other animals that consume its very small fruits. As the parent plant, the wild strawberry has very similar characteristics to true strawberries especially when it comes to the appearance of its leaves and flowers.

The main difference however is that its fruits look more like miniature strawberries when compared to the ones that we are used to eating. Many gardeners will want to dispose of them since this plant can grow all over the place and its fruits are not that sweet or palatable.

#3 The Mock Strawberries

mock strawberry

This plant is also another close family of the cinquefoils. This plant closely resembles both real strawberries as well as the wild strawberries. As a matter of fact, the only way that you can tell them apart is by looking at the color of its flowers.

This plant can invade other territories on a perennial basis and it can also survive the winter. While true strawberries and even wild strawberries produce white or reddish flowers, the mock strawberry on the other hand, will have yellow flowers.

This plant is known to look very much like true strawberries simply because it can produce green leaves that are trifoliate and because it can also produce runners. This plant is recognized as a trickster plant simply because it can easily fool inexperienced gardeners into thinking that it is a true strawberry plant.

It can also produce fruits that can look very much like strawberries at first glance. However, upon close inspection, you will be able to see that there is a huge difference in its actual appearance. This plant is also known to produce false strawberries, Indian strawberries or snake berries.

The reason why they are considered weeds is because the fruits that it produces are bitter or bland and they have no value whatsoever. Although the plant can be used as ground cover, many gardeners feel that there are far better options for that purpose than the mock strawberry plant.

As a native plant from Southern and Eastern Asia, this plant is considered in the U.S. as an invasive weed. Although it does not produce poisonous fruits, you should still consider removing this plant from your property before it starts to grow near your valuable plants.

#4 The Wood Strawberry

This plant is another very close relative of the typical strawberry. Also known as the Fragaria vesca, this plant closely resembles the true strawberry plant when it comes to the appearance of its leaves and flowers. This plant can also grow through runners and it can usually be found in California.

This is why it is also called the California strawberry. What makes it different from true strawberries is that it can sometimes produce flowers that have white petals but yellow centers. This plant can also be used as ground covers especially in areas with a USDA plant hardiness of 5 – 9.

This plant is considered by many as a weed simply because it is actually quite invasive. It can easily spread all over your property especially if you do not routinely prune the plant’s runners. It can also produce fruits that closely resemble the true strawberry. However, its taste is not particularly good.

However, you might be able to find specific cultivars of the wood strawberry that can bear fruits that have a decent taste. If you are lucky enough to have them growing in your property, you can choose to allow this plant to grow. If not, you will have to get rid of them by using herbicides.

Conclusion

landscape fabric

Strawberries can easily be spread to different areas with the help of different animals that are attracted to its distinctly sweet and juicy taste. The animals can take the fruits to different locations and they can also spread it through their poop. This is why it can grow in different places unexpectedly.

Whenever you think that a strawberry plant is growing in your property, the first thing that you need to do is to take a closer look at its leaves. This is because a true strawberry plant fill have toothed, trifoliate leaves and instead of growing upright, it will actually use runners to cover more ground.

If you still cannot identify it, you can let it grow for a couple more days until it produces flowers. If you can see white flowers, then you are in luck since it might actually be a true strawberry. If it produces yellow flowers on the other hand, then sadly, you might have a weed problem in your property instead.

Typically, true strawberries will be able to produce white flowers with large fruits. The fruit should also have a distinctly sweet flavor when ripe. If the fruit is bland or sour or if they are too small, there is a chance that you have wild strawberries growing in your area.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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2 comments
Kathy Albohm says Oct. 2017

I have an invasive weed that has taken over my perennial garden over the past several years. I have had it examined by Rutgers and Cornell county extension services. Neither could identify. I had a landscaper take a look at a sample and he thinks it looks like a strawberry plant. I have been researching and came across your site. The plants has 3 stems and each stem has 3 oval shaped leaves with jagged edges. Rarely have I seen small white flowers and I have never seen any fruit. Would it be possible to send you a photo to help identify. I need to figure our how to kill the weeds without affecting my plants

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Kira says Jun. 2018

Incredibly enough, European version of wood strawberry is actually considered superior to garden version in all ways, except in size. It’s more fragrant, more sweet and overall holds more taste. This goes for most of Scandinavia, Baltic countries, Balkan countries and most of the Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Russia included (I travel a lot and eat and buy a lot of strawberries and strawberry products). However, because of its spreading habits, as said above, not much gardeners will consider planting them in the garden and it remains pretty expensive pleasure, even more than the garden version.

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