Can You Eat Wild Strawberries?

Can You Eat Wild Strawberries
You'll be glad to know you can eat wild strawberries. You can recognize wild strawberries as the miniature lookalike versions of the juicy, red, regular strawberry. Be careful when foraging for wild strawberries, as you may also come across the potentially toxic mock strawberries.

From the Rosaceae family, the wild strawberry goes by the scientific name of Fragaria vesca. Another wild strawberry variety is Fragaria virginiana.

But, you may also know its other common names:

  • Alpine strawberry
  • Woodland strawberry

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Strawberries and Wild Strawberries?

You’ll recognize wild strawberries as the miniature lookalike versions of the juicy, red, regular strawberry.

In contrast to the regular strawberry, wild strawberries are not commercially cultivated as they are small in size and do not produce a large, profitable yield.

It’s pretty easy to differentiate the wild strawberry and commercial strawberries by looking at their size, blossom, and the way they hang on the vine.

How to Identify Wild Strawberries

Wild strawberries are easy to identify based on the critical differences mentioned below.

  • The wild, woodland strawberry sports the familiar light-green leaves with white flower blossoms and a yellow center.
  • The leaf edges are toothed with hairy undersides.
  • Check out the way it hangs on the vine. Wild strawberries will point skyward, but the genuine strawberry plant dangles on the vine.
  • The berries of the wild strawberry plant are noticeably smaller than standard strawberries.

Check our video below for more information on how to identify and use wild strawberries in the kitchen.

What do Wild Strawberries Taste Like?

Although wild strawberries are also aromatic and sweet, with a gentle tanginess, the main difference is that wild strawberries have a more concentrated and floral taste than regular strawberries.

 What Types of Wild Strawberries are Edible?

If you’re asking yourself, ‘can you eat wild strawberries,’ don’t be fooled by the common misconception that wilds are not edible and poisonous.

No, there are no poisonous wild strawberries, and they are edible.

Are there any Wild Strawberry Poisonous Lookalikes?

Usually, people refer to the deceptive mock strawberry when they say wild strawberries are not edible. Be careful when foraging, as these fake, tasteless, potentially toxic mock strawberries may come across.

Mock strawberries don’t have a smell or taste, unlike those you find in a garden or farm. In contrast to the white or pink flowers of edible strawberry flowers, the false mock strawberries flowers are yellow.

You can spot mock strawberries most obviously by their bumpy texture, in contrast to the smooth and nearly flat surface of the wild strawberry, with slight texture from the seeds.

You’ll also know you’ve encountered mock strawberries if you taste them. They have a distinctly bland and watery flavor.

Mock strawberry
Mock strawberry (Potentilla indica)

Do Wild Strawberries have Medicinal Properties?

Wild strawberries are not only a tasting foraging treat; they are also used as a traditional herbal remedy with several health benefits.

Wild strawberry plants are often used:

  • As a laxative and diuretic
  • To treat constipation in guinea pigs and rabbits
  • To relieve stomach and kidney complaints
  • To treat red-water fever in cattle
  • As part of a tonic to bathe red eyes
  • As a salve to encourage the healing of skin sores and sunburn

Western Indians have been making vitamin C concentrate juice for many years. It is made by squeezing wild strawberries and by mixing them with water.

Even if using the wild strawberry for medicinal purposes, consume it in moderation to ensure no allergic reactions, adverse effects on the skin, or respiratory or gastrointestinal problems. These reactions are rare but possible.

How to Forage for Wild Strawberries

These final tips should help you locate and enjoy wild strawberry edibles while foraging.

  • Have a keen eye on the ground cover. Novice foragers often miss these tasty but diminutive gems when well camouflaged under their leaves.
  • Choose the right time to forage for wild strawberries. The white or pink flowers appear in late spring, especially in April. But the berries won’t be ready to eat from June onward.
  • Remember that wild strawberry grows in full sun and will ripen swifter than strawberries in a shady spot.
  • Know where to look for wild strawberries. These edible plants are most often found in grassy areas, along paths, or in woodlands like those in the northern hemisphere’s climate, like North America. You might also find them in chalky limestone areas and roadsides.
  • The easiest way to forage wild strawberries is to know how to identify them. Remember that these wild fruits are smaller versions of the garden variety, with white flowers, yellow stamens that eventually sprout a tasty red berry, and serrated, trefoil leaves.


Getting into the great, wet outdoors in search of edible plants, herbs, fruits and fungi is one of Sarah’s favorite outdoor pursuits. She thinks there’s nothing better than combining her passion for hiking with the start of the foraging season. Sarah’s definitely not afraid of a little rain and dirt, it’s all part of the fun.

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