Barren Strawberry

Here’s my process:  I go for walks in the woods.  I take pictures of stuff.  I bring the pictures home, pick out the ones that aren’t terrible, identify them if I don’t already know what they are, and post them on Flickr.  Then I decide to write a blog post about one or more of them…

So, I consult my field guides and other plant books and then start surfing the ‘net to see what else is out there.  Sometimes I think my post is going to go in one direction, but it ends up going in a completely different direction…  Like today…

Barren Strawberry - Dewy in the Morning Sun

Barren Strawberry Range MapBarren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) is one of those wildflowers whose name gets erased from my brain during summer-fall-winter.  I find it in the woods and think… darn!  I know that flower.  I know I know that flower… But alas, the name will not come to me.  It happened again this year.  So, I decided to write about it, in the hopes that writing about it would help the name stick in my gray matter better.

I was interested to find that the plant, which I see in many locations here in Western New York, is “listed” in several states:

  • Endangered:  IL, ME
  • Threatened: NH
  • Special Concern: MA, CT
  • Rare: IN

Barren Strawberry CloseupBut what set me off on a wild goose chase that still has my head spinning was a small, seemingly innocuous phrase from the Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers:

Fruit not a berry.

Hmm…  Strange that the guide would make that distinction.  And in italics, too.

No problem.  I have no botany book here, but I can google up some definitions…

Go read them.  Seriously.  Then you tell me:  What is the difference between a berry and a fruit?  Then, just for fun, even though it has nothing to do with Barren Strawberry, try vegetable, too:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable.  It’s as good a way as any to waste a little time…

Finally, look at the cute little critter I found on one of the plants:

Barren Strawberry Visitor

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13 thoughts on “Barren Strawberry

  1. You are coming up with a lot of diversity already, and I’m captivated by seeing all of the plants that we don’t have out here. Always interesting!

  2. Actually, it never occurred to me that nature bloggers might have any other process! Tthough I am aware there might be a few who plan everything carefully in advance, and take pictures to illustrate their posts. If my dad were a blogger, for example, that’s how he’d do it. But he and most others like him always say “I don’t have time to blog.” And given the way he likes to work, that’s true, he doesn’t.

  3. Yes, you have described my blogging process very well too, except that the youngest members of my family are also involved, chiming in with “This could be something for your blog,” when we are looking at a dead woodlouse or the 800th House Finch of the day at the feeder.

    I enjoy your pictures. I grew up in southern Ontario and it’s nice to be reminded of home.

    I don’t know why it isn’t a berry. No edible pulp?

  4. So, that’s what all of those little flowers at Palmyra are … I’ve always wondered. See, I learn something new every day (and finally recognize one of your recent flowers).

  5. Jennifer,

    If I had a dollar for every time I thought I was going to blog about one thing, only to end up blogging about another..well, I could have retired by now and be spending all my time wandering out in the woods.

    Carolyn H.

  6. Scienceguy288 has it.

    Fruit is the all inclusive, general term with berry being one type of (simple) fruit. Berry : fruit as baseball :
    game or whole wheat : bread as coke : soda. Got it ???

  7. I’m always amazed at how I can “rat-hole” on Wikipedia when I started with something simple like “how big is the estuary of the Rio Plate?” I enjoyed your description of your blog process – mine’s quite similar except that my (non-)focus is more narrative whereas yours is topical. Fun post!

  8. Your process sounds very familiar, including the forgetting from year to year and getting sidetracked onto other interesting topics while doing research.

    (Hummmm. The USDA says that Barren Strawberries have been found in the county next door.)

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