Species of the Month - February 2012
An easy one this month, a fairly common plant and one of the first to flower. I normally see one before the end of January but have not done so this year, so I wonder who will be the first to find one in flower, and on what date. Records of plants not in flower are also welcome.
The plant is similar in many ways to the Wild Strawberry. in that it has leaves divided into three leaflets and flowers with five white petals. In the Barren Strawberry, however, the petals are spaced well apart and each petal is usually slightly notched. You are very unlikely to find Wild Strawberry in flower in February.
The left-hand pic shows how soft and hairy the leaves are. They are much less glossy than the leaves of the Wild Strawberry and can always be told by the hairs on the leaf underside which are angled away from the surface in Barren S but lie flat against the surface in Wild S.
The plant does not produce anything resembling a strawberry fruit, hence its name. After flowering the calyx folds inwards to form a five-sided pyramid.
Barren Strawberry occurs on dry ground in woodland, roadside banks, and open grassland. It likes shade but can grow in full sun.
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5 Feb - found lots in a wood near Taynuilt but no flowers on them yet - Carl
6 Feb - plentiful on Ballachuan hazelwood floor but again no flowers - Carl
29 Feb - a few plants found in wood next to Clachan Sound, but no flowers - Carl
3 Mar- found some at Knipoch but no flowers - Carl
14 Mar - at last found one in flower in Oban. Unbelievably late for the first one, in common with many other species this year.
30 Mar - they are in flower everywhere now following a spell of warm weather.