Before telltale red grapes look on a strawberry plant, you might have trouble identifying it. Strawberry plants grow low to the floor and can be difficult to find, particularly if mixed in with other plants from the forest or your garden. If you find a plant and you’re not sure what it is, take some opportunity to identify it by taking a look in its fruit, leaves and flowers. Identification will let you know if the plant is safe to deal with and its fruit good to eat.

Look for strawberries to the plant. Ripe strawberries are usually bright red and unripe berries may have an off-white or yellow look, though some varieties stay white, such as “Pineapple Crush” and “White Delight.” Many strawberries grow to about 1 inch in diameter, but wild strawberries are occasionally much smaller.

Analyze the leaves. Start looking for the strawberry plant’s dark green compound leaves with three rounded leaflets and deeply serrated edges, a ridged texture and medium depth.

Look for telltale strawberry plants’ vine-like runners that develop between 8 and 18 inches long, spreading across the floor and putting down roots to enlarge the range of the plant.

Identify strawberry blossoms which grow to around 1 inch in diameter with a yellow center surrounded by five white petals.

Watch for animals which eat the fruit of the strawberry plant, such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, skunk and bluejay.

Examine the plants growing nearby, as strawberry plants tend to develop near poison ivy, violets, red clover, Queen Anne’s lace, pokeweed and cinnamon fern.

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