Information on Barren Strawberry

Common Name: Barren Strawberry
Scientific Name: Potentilla sterilis
Irish Name: Sú talún bréige
Family Group: Rosaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Barren Strawberry could sometimes be confused with:

Strawberry, Wild,

This is a pretty little wildflower with five-petalled 10–15 mm white flowers and bluish green trefoil leaves. It grows by dry woodland and on grassy banks. This plant is quite similar to the Wild Strawberry, but it is easy to tell them apart by the following differences – in the Barren Strawberry the flower blooms much earlier (from March to June), its five white petals are separated by wide gaps which allow the sepals to be seen, the hair on the underside of leaf is not flattened and the stems don't root. Also the terminal tooth on the end leaflet is shorter than those either side of it whereas with Wild Strawberry it is longer. But the biggest difference of all is in the fruit which never becomes a succulent red berry, rather it is dry and inedible. This is a native plant belonging to the Rosaceae family.

I first realised that this was not Wild Strawberry when I found it in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare in 1979.  I photographed it at Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford in 2006 and 2010. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Strawberry, Barren
Strawberry, Barren

The name 'Strawberry' is thought to have come from an Anglo Saxon word 'streowberie' perhaps meaning that the fruit was strewn about the plant.