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Geum fragarioides (Appalachian barren strawberry)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Geum fragarioides

Appalachian barren strawberry

(syn. Waldsteinia fragarioides)

Bright, golden-yellow, 5-petaled flowers bloom early to late spring creating a striking accent against evergreen, trifoliate leaves. Flowers and foliage appear on separate stalks; foliage spreads by rhizomes just below the soil surface. A multi-seasonal, ornamental groundcover for the native garden.

Geum fragariodes LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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3-6 Inches


6-12 Inches


10 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-7

Appalachian barren strawberry Interesting Notes

If you are looking for a native groundcover that is durable and carefree, Geum fragarioides is your plant. Strawberry-like dark green foliage is semi-evergreen and dotted with bright yellow flowers in early to mid spring. Growing only 3”-6” tall, barren strawberry spreads by rhizome over time. It out-competes weeds and spreads non-aggressively. The tough foliage affects a dappled bronze-red coloring in fall, adding to its multi-seasonal appeal.

Originally found along riverbanks from Maine to Georgia and west to Minnesota, Geum fragarioides is highly adaptable to a wide range of conditions from moist to dry soil and full sun to deep shade. It prefers humus-rich and slightly acidic conditions and is known to do well in tricky locations such as beneath pine trees in the garden. Barren strawberry tolerates drought, deer, heavy clay, light foot traffic, high salinity, and shade.

This plant is a perennial favorite in public gardens where it has been seen as a groundcover beneath plantings of shrubs, deciduous conifers, and along garden borders. It is noted that in the heat and humidity of the Deep South, this plant melts down. Called barren strawberry because of the similarity of the foliage of trifoliate leaves but the small fruit, achenes, are inedible.

Geum fragarioides Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in part shade. Tolerates a wide range of soils; will naturalize via rhizomes. Minimal garden maintenance required.

Good Substitutions

snowdrop windflower Anemone sylvestris

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Early Spring
Early Spring

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Clay Tolerance
Native to North America
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Propagation Type