Waldsteinia fragarioides

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: barren strawberry
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates a wide range of soils. Prefers humusy, slightly acidic soils. Plants are generally intolerant of the heat and humidity of the deep South, and do best in northern climates with cool summers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Waldsteinia fragarioides, commonly called barren strawberry, is an ornamental, strawberry-like plant grown primarily as a ground cover. Although native to eastern North America, it is rare in Missouri where it is only known to occur on wooded slopes and ledges in several counties in the Ozarks. It is a mat-forming plant (to 6" tall) which spreads by runner-like rhizomes creeping just below the soil surface. Features 5-petaled yellow flowers (3/4" diameter) which bloom singly or in clusters in spring and trifoliate leaves with wedge-shaped leaflets (each 1-2" long). Flowers and leaves appear on separate stalks. Foliage is evergreen, but tends to bronze up in cold winter climates like St. Louis.

Genus name honors Count Franz Adam von Waldstein-Wartenberg (1759-1823), Austrian botanist and writer.

Specific epithet means resembling strawberry (Fragaria).

Fruits are not berries, but are single-seeded achenes which are inedible, hence the common name of barren strawberry.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs are occasional visitors.

Garden Uses

Best as a ground cover for small areas of the border, rock garden, native plant garden, woodland garden or naturalized area. Can also be used as an edging plant. Good substitute for grass in transitional areas.