Few days back while I was travelling from Landour to Dehradun and came across Indian Mock Strawberry spread along the lush green hill slopes. Earlier this area was covered with little yellow flowers all over but now the flowers have disappeared and little false strawberries have spanned across. Initially they appeared as if someone has spread little red buttons all over. I went closer to have a look into these brilliant red coloured fruits, thought I have found myself juicy strawberry. I picked one fruit only to taste its flavourless taste.
In the wilderness each colour has specific message. The colour red usually alarms danger, but sometimes it lures birds and animals. Although, I tried tasting the fruit, please take precautions and forage only under guidance. Some described the plant as edible but tasteless into not suitable for human consumption. While some say that it is not suitable for human consumption into not edible. There are few instances when some say it as not edible rather poisonous. I tasted two little fruits and found that the flavourless fruit had a slippery texture and definitely it was non – poisonous. The fruit is edible but the colour of the fruit might lead someone to expect the same as palatable.
Potentilla indica also known as mock strawberry or Indian-strawberry is a flowering plant in the family Rosaceae. It has foliage and fruit similar to that of a true strawberry. This plant has yellow flowers, unlike the white or slightly pink flowers of true strawberries. Indian strawberry is native to eastern and southern Asia, but has been introduced to many other areas as a medicinal and an ornamental plant. It later naturalized in many regions worldwide. It prefers moist and medium drained soil, sunny location with intermittent shade. It can be invasive often spreading freely by runners.
Potentilla means strong, powerful, and the plant and many of its relatives in a family considered to have good medical value. The entire plant is medicinal as an anticoagulant, antiseptic, depurative (purifier) and febrifuge (fever reducer). The herb can be used for stomatitis (an inflammation of the mucus lining), laryngitis, and acute tonsillitis. The fresh leaves can be crushed and applied externally as a medicinal poultice, a soft and moist mass.* It is used in the treatment of boils and absesses, burns, weeping eczema, ringworm, snake and insect bites and traumatic injuries. A decoction of the leaves is medicinal and used in the treatment of swellings. An infusion, or liquid extract, of the flowers is used to activate the blood circulation. The Indian Strawberry can also cure skin diseases. In folklore it is said that in India it is to be used as an offering to the gods. The Wild Indian Strawberry is used extensively in China as a medicinal herb, and is being studied for its ability to stop the HIV virus and some forms of cancer from spreading through the body.
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