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How to Grow and Care for Mock Strawberries

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Mock Strawberry: Plant Care and Growing Guide

Strawberry Mock (Potentilla indica) is a ground-hugging plant with runner roots. Toothed leaves can be evergreen or semi-evergreen. The upper leaflet surfaces are medium to dark green and hairless. Instead of the white flowers of the real strawberries in the garden, the flowers of the fake strawberry are yellow.

Each five-petal flower is solitary and consists of five green sepals and many stamens with yellow anthers. At the base of the flower, five leafy bracts are formed, toothed and larger than the sepals. At less than an inch in size, the flowers bloom from April to June and sporadically until September. When in flower, this groundcover reaches a modest height of around two inches. Each bar extends over more than one foot.

The burgundy red fruit appears in summer and fall as a mass of red seeds on a rough surface, expanding into small, round, swollen berries. Although they resemble miniature strawberries, the fruits are very chopped and dry, with little to no flavor. Similar in size to the flower from which they originated, the fruits are less than 2.5 cm long and wide.

The flowers are often mistaken for Potentilla species, such as Cinquefoil Shrubby, and the fruits resemble Fragaria species, which include common garden strawberries. This wildflower has been moved to the genus Potentilla because it is more closely related to potentilla plants.

So, Mock Strawberry, now identified as Potentilla indica, was changed from Duchesnea indica, originally Fragaria indica.

Botanical NamePotentilla indica, formerly Duchesnea indica, originally Fragaria indica
Common NamesMock strawberry, false strawberry, Indian strawberry, snake berry, she mei, and Indian mock strawberry
Plant TypeFruit-bearing, deciduous, evergreen or semi-evergreen groundcover/wildflower
Mature Size2.5 inches tall
Sun ExposureFull sun to full shade
Soil TypeHumus rich
Soil pHMildly acidic to mildly alkaline
Bloom TimeApril to June
Flower ColorYellow/gold
Hardiness Zones5-9, USDA
Native AreaAsia (Afghanistan to Russian Far East and Malesia)
ToxicityNon-toxic, edible

Mock Strawberries Care

Native to Asia, specifically Afghanistan in the Far East of Russia and Malaysia, the simulated strawberry was introduced to eastern, central, and coastal North America as a garnish.

Among other weeds that look like garden strawberry plants, Mock Strawberry is the best known. The plant often appears in disturbed soils and lawns where it is tolerant to mowing. It can be considered an invasive or harmful weed. It grows naturally most prolifically in agricultural areas, forests, and swamps.

Invasive species
The simulated strawberry is considered an invasive species in some areas. Check with your local extension office before planting one.

Light

Tolerant of a variety of conditions, this groundcover grows best in full sun or full shade.

Soil

Although it adapts to different types of soil, it grows best in soils rich in humus in the shade. Maintain a soil pH between 6.1 and 6.5 (slightly acidic), 6.6 and 7.5 (neutral), 7.6 and 7.8 (slightly alkaline).

Water

Water regularly as needed, but not over water. Because this plant is drought tolerant, it is ideal for xeriscaping (landscaping with or without water).

Temperature and humidity

The simulated strawberry will grow in hot, dry areas of the United States.

Are Mock Strawberries Toxic?

Fake strawberry fruit is not poisonous, but as mentioned above, it is not considered very tasty. Although Potentilla indica is not poisonous, be careful when looking for food, as many other wild fruits can be toxic to humans.

Mock Strawberries vs. Other Strawberries

Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) and other garden strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) are more succulent, sweet, and flavorful. The wild strawberry and the simulated strawberry have clusters of serrated leaves.

The only difference is that Mock Strawberry leaves have little to no hair. Most other strawberry plants have hairy leaves. Simulated strawberry plants have yellow flowers, while strawberry plants that produce the fruit we buy and consume most often have white flowers. Although the most obvious difference between these plants is the fruit itself.

Wild and Mock varieties produce elongated white to red spheres, but the Mock strawberry fruit is slightly more pointed.

Uses

The fruits, flowers, and leaves of the simulated strawberry are edible and medicinal. The fruit contains vitamin C, protein, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Berries can also help stretch other fruits by making jam and jelly and making a light-flavored jam or juice on your own. An infusion of flowers can activate blood circulation. The fresh leaves can be crushed into a soft, moist mass to treat eczema and insect bites. Add raw fruits to salads, cook leafy greens for other dishes, and steep leaves for tea.

Propagation

Where hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, the Mock Strawberry plant is a perennial plant that spreads by theft and usually returns the following year. If desired, the seeds can also be found online.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About How to Identify Wild Strawberry vs. Mock Strawberry

Source: Some Room to Grow - Organic Gardening

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