April 17, 2024

Aren’t these White Dots Strawberry Seeds?

You might already know that the name “strawberry” is wrong, because strawberries which are not really berries at all. Well, it seems that strawberries are full of surprises, or covered in them because those seedy white dots are not seeds.

The pitted appendages of strawberries are called achenes, and are actually the fruit of the plant, each containing a single seed. The term “achene” actually refers to the simple dry fruits produced by many different flower species, including quinoa, buckwheat, and cannabis.

So, if the strawberry is not the fruit of the plant, and it is not a berry, then what is?

Strawberries are technically an aggregate fruit, from the family Rosaceae. Raspberries and blackberries also fall into this category, and they all belong to the same family as roses.

The term “berry” is vague in the sense that any edible, fleshy fruit containing seeds can be called a berry, but it is actually scientific classification. To be classified as a berry, the fruit must contain more than one seed and consist of an outer skin (exocarp), a fleshy center (mesocarp), and an inner casing that holds the seeds (endocarp).

Sheep are derived from a single ovule of a single flower and are composed of two distinct groups. Citrus fruits belong to the hesperidium taxonomic group and are classified as modified berries, while the Cucurbitaceae family (which includes gourds, cucumbers, and watermelon) includes the pepos berry group.

That’s right, grapefruit, lime, and pumpkin are technically berries.

They are actually strawberries, unlike the true berry group receptor tissue which keeps the fruit bearing seeds on its surface. Unlike other fruits, when the strawberry flower is pollinated the fruit does not swell; instead, the receptor tissue swells, and the true fruits separate into small dry acini. And since achenes only have one seed, they can’t be classified as berries either!

To add insult to injury for the poor, tasteless achene fruit, most strawberry plants are not even grown from their seeds. Strawberry plants send out what are called “Runners” as they grow, basically little strawberry clones that will take root and start growing once they reach the ground.

The unusual life span of these berry imposters means they have been lumped in with the rest of the fruit exorcists in the fruit aggregate category, along with the drupes classification of single-seeded freaks.

An earlier version of this article was published in January 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *