Wild strawberries are a forager's dream. Sweet, small and intensely flavored, these wild fruits are actually pretty easy to identify. They also grow in a variety of places. But collecting these sweet little jewels is tough because you're completing with deer, mice, birds, rabbits, raccoons, and pretty, much any other critter with a sweet tooth.
Wild strawberries also have a look alike that while not outright poisonous, can cause allergic reactions and is pretty tasteless. To identify the difference between Mock strawberry and true wild strawberries, the flower is probably the best indicator. Mock strawberries have a bright yellow flower and wild strawberries have a white flower. Additionally, the fruit of a mock strawberry is born straight up on the stem, not hanging down. The Mock strawberry is also quite different looking on close inspection with the seeds sticking out of the fruit.
Wild strawberries grow in many places from forests, streambanks, disturbed soil and damp meadows. They grow through long roots called rhizomes and also from seed. They are persistent and can be tough to get rid of. But really, who would want to get rid of such a nice little plant? Blooming in late May and early June, these low-lying small plants are easy to identify. Fruit is ready to forage in late June and into July depending on where you live. The fruit is significantly smaller than the cultivated variety but is also significantly more flavorful.
If you have a lawn or wild area that is not treated with chemicals, go look for the white flowers and then mark or remember the spot to check for strawberries in about a month. You'll have to beat the critters to them but they really are a superior little strawberry!