Indentifying A Plant That Looks Like Strawberry Plant - Knowledgebase Question

Andrews Afb, MD
Avatar for KlingerJK
Question by KlingerJK
June 2, 2001
I have discovered a plant with small red berries that may be strawberries, but they are very small and I have never seen strawberries at new growth so I am unsure. As I said the berries are small, red, round with a "rough" texture. The leaves look more like a pointed oval than round like a strawberry plant, and it's flowers are purple. It is growing wild among the weeds and I want to be safe and know whether my four year old should not touch them. Thank you for your help. Kandi Klinger

Answer from NGA
June 2, 2001
You may be describing Potentilla, a perennial plant which can either be spreading like a groundcover or grow into a clump. Other kinds are shrubby. All have leaves divided into three to seven leaflets, shaped almost fan-like and reminiscent of strawberry leaves. The fruits are not considered edible, although they are not toxic. For safety in the garden it's always a good idea to teach children not to taste leaves or berries without your permission.

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