Wild Strawberry Beach Strawberry

Fragaria chiloensis (L.) Duchesne

(E) tudungax, tudungux, atudungax (A) tudunam tanasinin, tuzaangu^x

A low-growing plant with long, red runners, this strawberry has stems covered with long, silky hairs. The leaves are divided into three coarsely serrated leaflets, which are shiny green above, pale and silky underneath. The flowers have five white, rounded petals and yellow centers. The fruit is a small but very sweet, bright red berry.

Finding a patch of wild strawberries while out hiking is a noteworthy delight, since they are not nearly as common as our other berries. Known locations tend to become well-kept secrets. The trailing plants favor areas of low vegetation, such as dry tundra and occasional roadside spots.

Range:

Range:

Marsh Fivefinger, Purple or Marsh Cinquefoil

Potentilla palustris (L.) Scop.

Marsh Fivefinger, Purple or Marsh Cinquefoil

Potentilla palustris (L.) Scop.

Ascending from woody rhizomes, the stems are slender and usually less than 24" tall. The leaves are divided into five sharply serrated leaflets, hence the name fivefinger. The leaves are dark green above and pale beneath. The flowers are unusual; both the long pointed sepals and the much shorter petals are dark purplish brown. The unopened flowers look like rosebuds. Lovely and uncommon, the purple cinquefoil grows in the marshy ground of wet meadows and along river banks; the scientific name palustris means "of the marsh." At first glance, its dark appearance may make it seem to be a dried plant. The purple flowers are unique in the genus Potentilla, since all the other species have yellow flowers.

Range: Northern circumpolar and widespread in Alaska, but apparently lacking in the central Aleutian Islands.

Cinquefoil

Potentilla villosa Pall.

Cinquefoil

Potentilla villosa Pall.

Emerging from a stout, woody perennial base, the plant forms a dense, low-growing tuft of leaves. The flowering stems are often very short and seldom more than 10" tall in sheltered spots. The stems, leaves, and sepals are villous. The leaves are grayish green above, silvery tomentose underneath, and divided into three coarsely toothed leaflets, very similar to a strawberry leaf. The flowers are bright yellow, the petals turning deeper yellow, sometimes almost orange, at their base. The five to seven petals are broad and shallowly notched, often overlapping.

By late winter or early spring, when spears of new grass are just poking up along the rocky beaches, tufts of old, dry cinquefoil leaves can be found in cliff crevices. They look quite dead, but already tucked inside are new green leaves. Cinquefoils cling to lichen-covered rocks, ledges and cliffs along the beach. Though mainly coastal, they also grow in dry rocky soil farther inland.

Note: While the bright yellow flowers of the Geurns and Potentillas are similar, attention to their leaves and their habitat will help in distinguishing them.

Range:

Pacific Northwest, Alaska, throughout the Aleutians, into Eastern Asia.

CO F

Trailing Wild Strawberry

Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Wild Sweet Potato

Potentilla egedii Wormsk. ssp. grandis (Torr. & Gray) Hult.

taangam dagdaluu, taan-gam dagdaluga, taangam daxdaluu: water stopper, plant that detains water, can't wet in water, from taanga"x: water, and da"xtalix: to stop

Rooting from long reddish runners, the plants often spread into large patches. The long-petioled and bending leaves are composed of pairs of oblong, sharply toothed leaflets, which are shiny green above, pale, and villous underneath. The lowermost leaflets are smallest, becoming larger toward the tip, the terminal leaflet up to 2" long. Between them, very tiny leaflets appear. The flowering stems are leafless and slender, to 12" or more long. The flowers are bright yellow, the oval petals widely spaced and not overlapping.

Silverweed roots in damp ground along seashores and in marshes near the beach. Older plants develop a long, fleshy, sweet-tasting root. In the spicy-scented marshes of fall, the silverweed's beautiful bending leaves turn flaming orange and yellow.

Range:

The species as a whole is northern circumpolar and widespread in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and eastern Asia. Lacking in the central Aleutian Islands.

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