Potentilla sterilis, The Barren Strawberry

Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)As the name suggests the Barren Strawberry doesn’t bear strawberries. It belongs to a different genus of plants (Potentilla) to the true strawberries (Fragaria). However it does look a lot like a strawberry so here are some differences.

This next picture is a Wild Strawberry, note the yellow dome in the centre of the flower. (Clicking on this picture will take you to a page about Wild Strawberries)

Wild Strawberry flower (Fragaria vesca)Below is a Barren Strawberry, note that it doesn’t have the yellow dome centre and that the petals are spaced wider apart.

Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)Another small difference between the two plants is that the tooth on the very end of the Barren Strawberry leaf is smaller than the teeth either side of it.

Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)I don’t think that this is the most obvious difference but I have seen web sites that give this as the only difference and anyway it is true and useful when there are no flowers.

This flower doesn’t fruit but in my opinion it makes up for that by being the most photogenic of all the “strawberries.”

Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)

Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis) Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)   Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)   Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis) Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)This flower appears a few weeks before the Wild Strawberry and I was seeing it last year in early March and then until May but I do find them flowering side by side sometimes.

The leaf is very similar to the Wild Strawberry with the exception of that terminal tooth. It is made up of three toothed leaflets, they are hairy and this gives them a matt look.

Barren Strawberry leaf (Potentilla sterilis)


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Rosales

Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Potentilla

Species: Potentilla sterilis

Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)

Barren Strawberry flower (Potentilla sterilis)Back to White Wildflowers

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