You might be surprised to learn that strawberries are not berries at all, and those white dots on the surface are not seeds. Instead, they are called achenes, which are the actual fruit of the strawberry plant, each containing a single seed inside.
The term “achene” is used for the dry fruit produced by various flowering plant species like quinoa, buckwheat, and cannabis. So, if strawberries aren’t berries and aren’t true seeds, what exactly are they?
Strawberries are technically classified as aggregate fruits from the Rosaceae family, along with raspberries and blackberries. Interestingly, these fruits are all related to roses.
The scientific definition of a “berry” requires a fruit to have more than one seed and consist of an outer skin (exocarp), a fleshy middle (mesocarp), and an inner casing for the seeds (endocarp).
Berries are typically derived from a single ovary of an individual flower and are divided into different groups. Citrus fruits belong to the hesperidium group and are considered modified berries, while the pepos group includes fruits like gourds, cucumbers, and watermelon.
Yes, you read that right – grapefruit, lime, and even pumpkin are technically classified as berries.
In contrast, strawberries do not fit the true berry classification. They are actually the swollen receptacle tissue that holds the seed-carrying fruit on its surface. When a strawberry flower is pollinated, the receptacle tissue swells, while the true fruit separates into small, dry achenes. Since each achene contains only one seed, strawberries cannot be considered true berries either!
Adding to the intrigue, most strawberry plants are not grown from their seeds. Instead, they send out “runners,” which are essentially clones of the parent plant that take root and grow new strawberry plants.
Due to their unique life cycle and botanical characteristics, strawberries find themselves classified as aggregate fruits, along with other fruity outliers, embracing their role as the intriguing imposters among the berry world.