If you’ve been enjoying the reddish-pink moon these past couple of days, you might know by now that the first full moon of the month of June is commonly referred to as Strawberry Moon. But did you ever stop to wonder who named it that? And why?
Well, it turns out that the color is more of a coincidence than anything else. Native Americans did not look at that the magnificent first full moon of June a long time ago and thought that it resembled some tasty fruit they just can’t get to.
The color actually has so little to do with it that the first full moon on June is also called Honey Moon sometimes, when the shade appears to be more yellowish-golden, rather than reddish-pink.
As for the more popular name, Strawberry Moon, Native Americans named it so because of a very practical and understandable reason – statistically speaking, June is the month of the year when most strawberries are being picked. And, in general, it is a fruit mostly found in the first half of summer.
Native Americans like the Algonquins had a lot of knowledge about the land and knew that strawberries are some of the first fruit to ripen once winter passes. However, they didn’t have many tools at their disposal for lighting the way when searching for the tasty treat enjoyed by children and adults alike.
It is precisely because of this that the light of the full moon made it significantly easier for them to find patches of wild strawberries.
While Native Americans did technically invent strawberry shortcake (they used to mix strawberries with cornmeal before baking the batter; they did not have a specific name for it, but that all changed when colonies from Europe tried the treat), they did not limit their use of strawberries only to breakfast or dessert.
They also mixed their roots and leaves with various other plants in order to create acceptable medical treatments of the time and heal their bodies.
The name of the fruit is also somewhat unexpected and curious as the straw used by most gardeners who grow strawberries has nothing to do with it, and technically speaking, strawberries aren’t actually berries of any kind. Instead, the name comes from the verb “to strew”, as people looked at the entanglement of strawberry vines and though it looked like the plant’s seed were strewn all over the bed.
As for the fruit not being a berry, the part that we perceive as fruit is in reality contained in the brown seeds that can be seen on the outside of the red part, which is in fact an “enlarged part of the flower stem”, not a fruit that it produces.
If you’d like to take gardening up as a hobby, strawberry plants are not only good for decorating a space, but they will also reward you with tasty summer treats. You can still plant them now, however don’t expect to collect any fruit until next spring.
It is important to remember to place the plants roughly 24 invhes apart, and to make sure that the crown, the part where leaves come from, is at the soil’s surface. Don’t forget to avoid areas where you’ve been growing tomatoes, potatoes or sod, and once large plants start developing keep the as weed free as humanly possible. Fertilizer should be added yearly during the months of August and September.
As for those of you who’ve been missing out on the Strawberry Moon this year, all is not lost. June’s full moon will remain on the night sky for the next several days, so you have plenty of time to go stargazing or to start taking photos.
The National Weather Service informed earlier that those living in the Southwest and eastern Great Lakes region will have the best view tonight, while those living on the Eastern Seaboard and in the Pacific Northwest will have the worst view tonight.
Image Source: publicradio.org