Native to eastern and southern Asia, mock strawberry is a herbaceous perennial that was introduced as an ornamental to the US where it has naturalized in lawns and waste areas in the Midwest and East. It is a member of the rose family, Rosaceae, that also includes cherries, lady’s mantle, and pyracantha but is not closely related to garden strawberry, which it resembles. Because mock strawberry grows well in sun and semi-shade in a variety of soil types, is attractive, sustains moderate foot traffic, and spreads quickly, it makes a good evergreen groundcover but tends to become weedy in lawns and borders.
Description: Low growing crowns produce hairy stolons that spread out all around to produce new plants, and dark green trifoliate leaves with toothed leaflets on long hairy petioles. The yellow flowers appear from mid-spring into summer and have five petals and numerous stamens. The aggregate accessory fruit is white to red, fleshy, edible, and resembles a commercial strawberry but is tasteless.
Control: Hand digging each crown is the most direct way and safest way to rid an area of mock strawberry. Mowing does not work and may stimulate growth. In extreme cases a safe herbicide such as glyphosate can be used but may involve several applications.
Photo Credit: Wikispecies