A Strawberry is Not a Berry

Myth: Strawberrys are berrys.

Strawberries are not berries. They actually are an example of an “aggregate fruit”, forming from a flower that has many ovaries; the ovary being the part of the flower that eventually develops and ripens into a fruit. Once the ovaries are pollinated, the ovaries will swell and eventually form the strawberry as we think of it.

As noted, strawberries form from a flower that has many ovaries. This makes them a complex fruit, much like blackberries or raspberries. Actual berries, though, are what are known as “simple fruits”, meaning they form from a flower that has only one ovary, such as grapes.

Bonus Facts:

  • Examples of actual berries that most people don’t think of as such include: bananas, tomatoes, and watermelons.
  • The garden strawberry was first bred in France in 1840 by crossing a Gragaria virginiana, from North America, with a Gradaria chiloensis, from Chile. The former was noted for its great flavor and the latter was known for its large size.
  • Strawberry plants are rarely propagated by seeds anymore; rather, they are generally propagated by cutting off runners from existing plants.
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10 comments

  • The correct species name for the two strawberries are: Fragaria chiloensis and Fragaria virginiana. Thought you’d like to know…

  • Actually, strawberries are berries. The historic usage and common usage for berry far predates and outnumbers the botanical classification which kicked strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries out of the berry family yet included eggplant and bananas. Even Wikipedia recognizes this by having a separate (and less significant) page for the botanical definition of berry.

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