Aren't these wild strawberries, I wondered?
It had been so many years since I had been able to taste wild strawberries. Wild strawberries are tiny (perhaps the size of a pencil eraser, if that) but pack as much flavor in one tiny berry as in a huge commercial strawberry. They are a pain to pick (especially if you have a bad back, which I do), but so worth it.
"Look at these!" I motioned to my spouse. I was so positive these were wild strawberries that I forgot the first rule about wild food. Don't taste wild food unless you know for sure what the food is.
He tasted one.
"These have no taste!" he exclaimed. So, I tasted one.
The berries looked like strawberries. The leaves looked like strawberries. Did I luck into a field of....tasteless strawberries?
One quick email to a friend's sister later, I had my answer. Potentilla indica, also known as Indian strawberry.
They are a native of Asia. They were imported here, intended as an ornamental. In some areas of our country, they are now considered invasive.
Fortunately, these don't appear to be poisonous, and my spouse and I are both still here. But, my dreams of wild strawberry shortcake are on indefinite hold.
Sometimes, things just aren't as they appear. What looks desirable turns out to be - tasteless.
A nice life lesson.
Have you ever been fooled by something that looked like something desirable, but turned out to be something different?