What is this fruit? Is it edible?

Found it in my backyard, in the Lehigh valley, eastern PA.

Here's the photo:

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is a better photo possible? Maybe a photo of the entire plant with leaves? $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Jun 4 '19 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ What is the size of the fruit? Did you find any more? What habitat did you find it in? Can you describe or provide a photo of the plant it came from? Did you cut the fruit open - if so, please describe or provide a photo. Species ID questions need to be detailed and complete to avoid getting wrong answers (especially those that are unfortunately upvoted due partially to question vagueness). Please edit your post with more details to ensure you get an accurate answer. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Jun 5 '19 at 18:43

Considering how many of them I’ve seen growing on the ground where I live in PA, it’s likely a mock strawberry. The plants grow on runners on the ground and have yellow flowers with five petals that become the fruit. The seeds come off easily when you rub it.

They’re safe to eat (wash them and make sure your lawn isn’t treated with chemicals though) but lack the flavor of real strawberries. I’ve eaten them before.

The fruit doesn't get much bigger than the one you're holding either. Here is a zoomed-in picture from Wikipedia:

  • $\begingroup$ Please provide a direct citation regarding the safety of eating the species you list. You must realize you're encouraging someone to eat a specimen you've ID'd from a poor-quality photo and without documenting that you've done your own homework on the safety of doing so. Personal experience is valuable but not good enough to suggest that someone else try it. (this is especially true for a fruit that's historically been regarded as dangerous to eat). Please edit your post to provide stronger evidence for the safety of consuming this fruit or please remove the statement about its consumption. $\endgroup$ Jun 5 '19 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ A reputable citation such as this would be preferable. $\endgroup$ Jun 5 '19 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist Technically I cited Wikipedia which cited that page, but now I’ve linked to it directly. $\endgroup$
    – Laurel
    Jun 5 '19 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the edit. Suggesting that something is safe to eat to complete strangers likely should be supported more directly than a footnote in a link. (FYI I've seen someone try to eat an Amanita mushroom before based on incomplete/faulty (and not at all cited) information.) In this false-strawberry case it doesn't appear to be all that big a deal, but it's just good practice when sharing information online. More generally, we prefer that all major claims made in posts on Biology.SE be supported directly. Thanks :). $\endgroup$ Jun 5 '19 at 20:28

It looks quite similar to the fruit of arbutus unedo (a.k.a. strawberry tree), which is edible:

enter image description here

But your image is too low definition to be certain.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ -1. Thanks for the answer but this is almost certainly WRONG. This shrub is found in the Mediterranean region of Europe, not Eastern Pennsylvania (USA). According to your Wiki article, the plant is found in the US, but it has been planted in the mediterranean climate of Western USA -- again, quite a different climate than Pennsylvania. Also note that the fruit of your tree grows to be larger than the specimen in the OP's picture. $\endgroup$ Jun 5 '19 at 18:40

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