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:  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