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Mystery Picture Answers

No.19

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The berry of the Wild Strawberry plant Fragaria vesca
During the late summer the attractive and tasty berries of this small perennial* plant can be seen in Britain along dry grassy hedgerows and banks.  A member of the rose family, Wild Strawberry grows up to 30cm in height and has long 'runners' which grow outwards from the parent plant and can send down roots to form new plants.  Its leaves are formed by 3 oval leaflets, each with hairy undersides.  Between April and July the plant produces small white flowers 13-18mm in diameter and with 5 petals.   The bright red berries which form and ripen in late summer are small at around 8-10mm.  There are many seeds situated on the outside of each berry.  They appear in the pictures above as small shiny ovals.  The Wild Strawberry relies on animals to distribute its seeds to new locations.  For example, birds will eat the juicy strawberries and fly to a different location before passing the indigestible seeds in their droppings. 

The caterpillars of several species of moth feed on Wild Strawberry including Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata, Beautiful Carpet Mesoleuca albicillata and Dark Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta citrata

In France, Wild Strawberries are considered a delicacy and are eaten with Raspberries!

*perennial - lives for many years

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