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4 6 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t STORY AND ILLUSTRATION BY JEFF COX ANATOMY OF THE BEST STRAWBERRIES, IN MY OPINION, THE WILD STRAWBERRY are the tiny, native wild strawberries of North America (Fragaria virginiana) that grow east of the Rockies. I agree with 17th-century English physician Dr. William Butler, who was quoted by writer Izaak Walton as saying, "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did." In my boyhood home in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, they ripened in the second week of June. The fields around my house were carpeted with them—they grew prolifically in the poor, acidic shale and clay soils of our hilltop. Wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana) still abound in many places east of the Rockies. They are one of the progenitors of our modern hybrid strawberries, which are bigger, but not better, than these little wildings.

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