White yarrow and mock strawberries

Mock Strawberries, White Yarrow, and Spiderwort

The white yarrow is coming into bloom on the mountain.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a wild edible, and we certainly have plenty of it, but like plantain and dandelion greens, it tends to be quite bitter and I don’t harvest or eat it. There are simply too many other delicious wild greens in June (honewort, heal-all, basswood, galinsoga, smartweed, and wood nettles, to name a few) I like more.

I added some lovely purple-tipped grasses to make this yarrow bouquet.

Yarrow and grass bouquet
Yarrow and grass bouquet

I remember mock strawberries (Duchesnea indica) from when I was a child; we called them Indian strawberries. They were originally found on the Indian subcontinent, which is where they got their species name.

Along with what we called “sour clover” (and which I now know as wood sorrel) it was one of the two most frequently nibbled-on items in our suburban lawn.

White yarrow and mock strawberries
White yarrow and mock strawberries

There’s a big difference between mock strawberries and wild strawberries.

Mock strawberries have a yellow bloom while wild strawberries have a white one. Mock strawberries have very little flavor and the crunchy little balls on the outside of the fruit will easily crumble off in your hand. (I think of them as sprinkles.)

And while true wild strawberries grow hanging upright off of a stem like the kind you might have in your garden, mock strawberries grow upside down!

Mock strawberries (Duchesnea indica)
Mock strawberries (Duchesnea indica)

Still, I often pick and eat them (they have lots of vitamin C), or leave a small pile as an offering for the chipmunks, rabbits, and deer who love them.

Finally, here’s another wild edible I don’t typically harvest: the lovely spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana). It grows happily in deep shade on tall, leafy stalks, and produces one to three glowing purple blooms. I’ve eaten spiderwort before, but mostly only the blooms. We have a lot of it blooming by our wild raspberry patch, and when we are up there picking berries, we tend to also eat spiderwort blooms.

Spiderwort
Spiderwort

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