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Barren strawberry beginning to flower.

Barren-strawberry is a durable, low-growing ground cover.  It produces bright yellow flowers in early summer.

Botanical name:

Waldsteinia ternata

All Common Names:

Barren-strawberry, barren strawberry, dry strawberry, yellow strawberry

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Small plant (6-12 inches),
  • Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil

Season of Interest:

  • Late spring,
  • Early summer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Size and Method of spreading

Barren-strawberry is a low-growing ground cover that seldom get taller than 6 inches in leaf.  When in flower, the flowers may add another 2 to 4 inches to the height.  It is a colonizing ground cover.  Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  Barren-strawberry tends to grow more slowly than most colonizing ground covers.

Plant Care

Barren-strawberry is a fairly low-maintenance plant that can grow in a variety of soils.
When grown in full sun, soil moisture needs to be consistent.

Disease, pests, and problems

Generally no serious problems, but fungal leaf spots can occur.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and Asia.

Leaf description

Most of the leaves grow from the base of the plant.  The leaves are compound with three leaflets.  The leaflets have serrated margins.

Flower description

Clusters of bright yellow, five-petaled flowers are produced from late spring into early summer

Fruit description

Once pollinated, the flowers produce small, strawberry-like structures that hold the true fruits, which are achenes (the "seeds").


Related species

Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides): Very similar to the species listed above.  Leaves are less glossy and the entire plant is slightly taller.  Less tolerant of heat (Zone 4 to 7).  The two species are closely related and often mistaken for one another.

Location of Waldsteinia ternata (Barren-strawberry) at the Arboretum