Potentilla indica   Yellow-flowered Strawberry I

Duchesnea indica

This introduction from Asia is grown in gardens and escapes into semi natural wilderness. I have only ever seen it growing in cemeteries for some reason and this particular plant was beautifully naturalised. London is a superb place for overgrown, neglected cemeteries but Mile End cemetery, now a nature reserve, is so perfectly overgrown that it looks like a set for a horror movie.

Even on this hottest of bright days there was a slight air of gloom and foreboding as we looked for wild flowers amongst the gravestones and tombs. That gloom might have been because England were struggling against Portugal in the World Cup Quarter Final at the time and we just about finished our botany in time (for two of us anyway) to enjoy a pint watch the second half in a crowded pub in Mile End.

Back to Potentilla indica... I was aware of the yellow flowers but had never seen the fruits before which look exactly like wild strawberries. Apparently you can eat them but they are tasteless. I didn't try - they were thriving on the ground above an old grave.

Potentilla indica has become naturalised mostly in the south of England with highest concentrations near the south coast and in the south east. There are a few records from Wales, only one in Scotland and a couple from Ireland.

Potentilla indica is a new name for this plant given in New Flora of the British Isles Edition 3 (2010) by Clive Stace. Previoulsy it was knwon as Duchesnea indica.

Mile End cemetery, London 1st July 2006

Added on 12th July 2006, updated 16th December 2008, 28th March 2010, updated 23rd May 2012

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