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Waldsteinia fragarioides (Michx.) Tratt.

Geum fragarioides (Michx.) Smedmark

Barren strawberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderRosalesRose family and eight others
FamilyRosaceaeIncludes apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, almonds, roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns; many others
GenusWaldsteiniaHonors Count Franz Adam von Waldstein-Wartenberg (1759-1823), Austrian botanist and writer
SpeciesfragarioidesResembling strawberry (Fragaria)

About plant names...

Barren strawberries are North American natives, named for their apparent lack of fruit. (They do in fact fruit, but the seeds are inconspicuous and dry.) They are not strawberries at all, though they are related. The genus Waldsteinia is named for the German botanist Francis Adams, the Count of Waldstein-Wartenburg. The species, fragarioides, means strawberry-like, for the close resemblance of the foliage.

Identification: Barren strawberries are 3-8" (7.6-20 cm) tall. Leaves are near the base of the plant, and three-lobed, like strawberries, with rounded teeth and shallow lobes. Each leaflet is narrow at the base, widening to rounded ends. Flowers are yellow, on a leafless stalk, with five rounded petals, about ¼" (8.3 mm) around, in clusters.

Barren strawberries most closely resemble mock strawberries, since they both have yellow flowers. Here are a few strawberries and strawberry relatives:


Waldsteinia fragarioides (barren strawberry)

9/24/2010 · Nissitissit River Wildlife Management Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Waldsteinia fragarioides (barren strawberry)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

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Waldsteinia fragarioides

Fragaria ‘Red Ruby’

Fragaria vesca
Common Name

barren strawberry

ornamental strawberry

alpine strawberry
Plant 3-8" (7.6-20 cm) high About 5" (12 cm) high and 12-24" (30-60 cm) around. Plants are low-growing, typically 3-6" (7.6-15 cm) tall.
Flowers Yellow, on a leafless stalk, with five petals, ¼-¾" (8.4-19 mm) around, blooms April-May. Deep pink, about ¼-¾" (8.3-19 mm) in diameter, with five petals. Flowers are white, about ½" (1.5 cm) across.
Leaves Near the base of the plant, three-lobed, with rounded teeth and shallow lobes. Each leaflet is narrow at the base, widening to rounded ends. Dark green, in groups of three, glossy. Leaves occur in groups of three; each leaflet is ½-2½" (1.5-6.3 cm) long.
Fruit Dry, inconspicuous seeds. Occasionally produces fruit. Up to ⅜" (1 cm) across. Red or white in color.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 5-8

Habitats Pine forests, clearings Sun to light shade; well-drained soil  
Type Wild Cultivar Wild


Fragaria virginiana

Fragaria ×ananassa ssp. ananassa
Common Name

common strawberry

Plant 2-4" (5-10 cm) high. 4-8" (10-20 cm) high.
Flowers White flowers with yellow centers, about ½" (1.3 cm) around. Flowers remain at the level of the leaves. Most have white flowers, though some are pink; flowers have five rounded petals.
Leaves Leaf stalks up to 6" (15 cm) long bear groups of three leaves. Each leaf is oval in shape, with a serrated edge, about ¾-1½" (1.9-3.8 cm) long. Leaves occur in groups of three. They are fairly rounded in shape, edged with rounded teeth.
Fruit Berries are red, about ½" (1.3 cm) in diameter. Seeds are embedded in the berry. Sepals point outward. Fruits become white, then red, up to 1½" (3.8 cm) in size.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 5-9
Habitats Fields, prairies, woodland edges  
Type Wild Wild


Online References:

Waldsteinia fragarioides on

Waldsteinia fragarioides at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Waldsteinia fragarioides on CalPhotos

Waldsteinia fragarioides (barren strawberry)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Waldsteinia fragarioides description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Sep 2020.

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Waldsteinia fragarioides (barren strawberry)

8/16/2020 · Long Reach Preserve, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 10 × 6" (24 × 16 cm)


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