Creeping low to the ground by Little Crum Creek, “Indian strawberry” started flowering in April and fruiting in May.

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The common name for Duchesnea indica might conjure thoughts of Native Americans gathering fruit in the Crum Creek watershed long before European settlement.

But “Indian strawberry” actually refers to the plant’s Asian origin.

It therefore shares a history with more recent residents of our streams, including knotweed, honeysuckle, wineberry, and multiflora rose.  Each was introduced from Asia.

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Indian strawberry’s delicious-looking fruit might also mislead.  To many, it tastes rather bland. 

Some call it “mock strawberry” to distinguish it from the native, and much sweeter, “wild strawberry” (Fragaria virginiana). 

It was this native strawberry that the Lenape  knew as a useful food and medicine.   They called it Wtehimall.

I haven’t spotted any of the native variety yet, so let’s keep an eye out for its white-petaled flowers and tiny red fruit.

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