Monday 30 May 2022

Wild Strawberries

    When I was a kid, I was in 4-H.  Each year we would sign up to do projects in various categories.  I did projects in Forestry (mounting leaves and identifying wood samples), Wildlife (making plaster-casts of animal footprints), Electricity (making an extension cord), and one year I also did Strawberries.  I had to plant some strawberry plants in the garden and keep them weeded, so when an inspector came out, they looked healthy and neat.   So I knew what strawberry plants looked like.  

    After moving to McBride, we were once walking through Koeneman Park and I noticed these very tiny strawberry plants growing in the grass.  I hope you can get a sense of their size by comparing it to my thumb in the photo. They were very small compared to a normal size strawberry plant.  These were wild strawberries.   I found them very interesting, everything looked the same; their leaves, their flowers, and their runners, only everything was miniature.

    When the small strawberry plants made strawberries, they too were miniature.  They are about the same size as a pea.  

    I found that picking a wild strawberry difficult, because of its size.  Usually my clumsy big fingers would just end up with a strawberry smear, rather than the berry, whenever I tried to pick one.  I thought that such a compact little berry would be a real burst of flavor, but there didn’t seem to be enough there to really give much of a taste.  Still, I find it amazing how humankind has bred, developed, and enlarged this little plant into a plant that produces the much bigger and more tasty strawberries that we have today.

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