-The photo at left shows woods strawberry as seen next to the vault toilet at the equestrian trail parking lot, Beacon Rock State Park........April 8, 2016. Note the prominently veined leaf blades. The photo at right shows woods strawberry on slopes above the Klickitat River near Klickitat, WA.....April 29, 2021.
Woods strawberry is a deciduous perennial which is strongly stoloniferous. The stolons arch through the air and form "baby" plants where they come in contact with the ground. The leaves are long petiolate (5-10 cm) with 3 leaflets. The leaflets are thin to fairly thick in cross-section and are broadly elliptic to obovate-oblong in shape. The leaflets are yellow-green in color with prominent venation and the blade surface bulged between veins. The leaflet margins are coarsely toothed.
The inflorescence is a 3-11 flowered cyme with showy white (occasionally pink-tinged) flowers which usually exceeds the height of the leaves. The 5 petals are 8-11 mm long and surround a central cluster of yellow stamens. The fruit is globose, red, and very sweet, and is up to 1 cm wide.
Strawberries get their common name from the practice of placing straw about the plants to keep the fruit from touching the ground and spoiling. The fruits are highly prized, and may be eaten raw or cooked in cobblers or jams. A tea made of the leaves is high in Vitamin C. Various small animals eat the berries.
It is found in meadows, light woods, and along streambanks. It is most common through the earliest stages of successional growth.
Woods strawberry was evidently introduced to North America from Europe during the 1700s. It is now widespread over much of North America. Variety bracteata may now be found from British Columbia south to California along the east side of the Cascades. It may also be found in the Puget Trough and in the Willamette Valley. It is found eastward to Alberta and hence south in the Rockies through Montana and Wyoming to New Mexico.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 100'-4200' from the west end of the gorge to as far east as the Klickitat River.
The photo above shows woods strawberry as seen on Mt. Adams in mid May, 2005. Note the prominently veined leaf blades.