If you are looking for a native lawn-replacement, wild strawberry will be one of the first plants we suggest.
This ground-hugging perennial spreads via runners, be sure to give it plenty of room and it will fill in an area with lush dark green foliage, sweet tiny white flowers in the Spring, and even sweeter tiny berries.
Fragaria virginiana can handle moderate foot traffic, can be mowed (although you will miss out on the berries!) and is an important food source for wildlife from birds, small mammals, bees, and at least 81 species of butterflies and moths.
Use: Consume like the domesticated strawberry we all know. These are smaller and tastier but don't last long after picked. So eat them up!
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photos courtesy of Dan Wilder
Fragaria virginiana (Wild strawberry)
full sun, part sun/part shade, shade
water needs: Average-wet to dry soil height: 6" plant spacing: 4/sq ft bloom time: April, May bloom color: white
Edible: fruit salt tolerant. Some salt exposure should not be fatal to the plant but some leaf burning may still occur.