I found this false strawberry right outside my front porch steps while enjoying an ice-cold adult beverage. They’re tasteless, but easy to identify and fun to gobble up.
The false strawberry’s leaves and berries look extremely similar to those of the real wild strawberry. Basically, they’re smaller than store-bought strawberries, with more granular seeds, and grow close to the ground. They like to hide in the grass among the triple toothed, ovoid leaflets.
This one is more of a survival food than anything, as it’s too tasteless to have much use in practical dishes. Still, I like to eat them whenever I find them, just on general principle. Eating wild berries is fun.
When & What to Harvest
If the false strawberry grows in your area, you can find them emerging in the spring and summer, depending on the climate in your region. Keep an eye out for the leaves, which can hang around all year long, and you’ll know where to look when berry season strikes. The leaves are edible as well, both on false and real strawberry!
Where to Find False Strawberry
Yards, grassy knolls.
The false strawberry’s major lookalike is the real strawberry, which is rich and flavorful — unlike the tasteless, slightly dry false strawberry. False strawberries also have yellow flowers, whereas real strawberry has pinkish or whitish flowers. You’ll rarely see the flowers in bloom, however. False strawberries also tend to be smaller and have even more granular seeds.
Just wash and eat, but don’t expect them to sweeten a strawberry parfait.
I’ve read that the leaves are medicinal, both internally and topically. In the past, my own research has found such claims to hold true. I bet they’d make a fine tea, but I haven’t tested that theory.