Wasžúšteča Wanáȟča: Strawberry Flower

When you see the first strawberry flowers of the year, you know the berries aren’t too far behind! This picture is from early spring.

Wild Strawberries, Fragaria spp., wažúšteča, are one of my favorites. They are indigenous to boreal forests around the same latitude all over the northern hemisphere. In addition to indigenous North American wild strawberries, I have also worked with wild strawberry plants from England and Germany. There are also indigenous strawberries in the Southern Hemisphere. (This link will take you to a fascinating story about an indigenous Chilean strawberry.)

From these humble flowers, so simple they look like a child’s drawing of a flower, the best strawberries will eventually emerge. I’ll leave the descriptions of the resulting berry for another post, but I will say that these wild strawberries are the world’s best strawberries. As Robin Wall Kimmerer observes in the wild-strawberry chapter of her book Braiding Sweetgrass, the wait sometimes makes it all the more worthwhile.

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