Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis)

Beach Strawberry is a perennial member of the Rose family. It reproduces by sending out runners forming a dense mat, which is good for filling in between rocks or on the borders of your garden. Of our two native strawberry species this one is more aggressive and hardier. It grows along the coast and can be found in the Coastal Strand, and North Coastal Scrub. During the spring and summer it has white flowers that give way to tiny edible strawberries. It has adapted to life on the coast by forming a thick waxy coating on the tops of its 3 serrated, oval shaped leaves. This adaptation limits evaporation making the Beach Strawberry a very drought tolerant ground cover. Another way it is adapted to life on the beach can be observed when the plant is buried by shifting sands. When this happens it sends a runner shoot up out of the sand to form a new colony. In San Francisco it can be found in the dunes of Ft. Funston, along Ocean Beach all the way up to Baker Beach and around to Crissy Field. When the Army operated at Ft. Funston (and other coastal sandy sites) they could have chosen Beach Strawberry as one of the plants to stabilize the dunes instead of introducing the invasive, bluff busting ice plant.

Beach Strawberry at a glance

Sun: Full
Water: None or very little
Soil: Requires good drainage
Wildlife: Butterflies, Bees, Birds, and Small Mammals
Pair with: Seaside Daisy, Beach Sagewort, Prostrate Coyote Brush, Coast Buckwheat, Pacific Gum Plant, Dune tansy

1 comment:

  1. does ground cover = soil stabilizer, and is that equal to erosion control?
    I'm thinking here of our deep rooted perennials VS short rooted but fast growing non natives that look like they are doing something, but actually aren't.

    Would strawberry be a good stabilizer on a non-sandy spot? How does a short-rooted plant stabilize a soil, simply by not being exposed?