Berries are always a yummy, healthy snack, but what exactly is a berry? When you think of berries, you probably think of small, squishy fruit that can be picked off bushes or vines. However, scientifically speaking a berry is a fruit that forms from the ovary of a single flower with a seed, or multiple seeds, inside of the fruit.
Surprisingly, this means that while we often refer to strawberries, raspberries and blackberries as berries, they are actually aggregate fruits! Aggregate fruits develop from multiple ovaries of the same flower that join together.
Let’s explore some surprising berries!
You know bananas are a fruit, but did you know bananas are also a berry? Bananas look like they grow on trees, but they actually grow on a plant; this plant is a type of herb! Bananas grow in large, hanging bunches and thrive in tropical areas. So, what are those tiny black spots on the inside of your banana? Modern commercial kinds of bananas have tiny, sterile seeds. (Wild, inedible bananas on the other hand have viable seeds.)
This video from DOLE shows how commercial bananas are harvested. It is a lot of work to get this delicious fruit to our grocery store!
You may have heard that avocados are technically a fruit, but did you know they are also a berry? That little brown pit on the inside of the avocado is actually a seed! Avocados grow on trees and the blossoms also need to be visited by pollinators. In the U.S., 90% of domestic avocados are grown in California. On average, each California avocado tree can produce 150 avocados.
Learn more fun facts and information about California Avocados here.
Wait, pumpkins are berries too? Pumpkins grow from seeds on vines and can be grown all across the United States. Pumpkins have male flowers and female flowers, which is why pollinators are so important in making pumpkins grow! Pumpkin seeds need to be placed far apart because pumpkins need a lot of space to grow.
Want to learn more? Explore this blog post on different pumpkin varieties!
Here is a berry you might recognize! Blueberries are a flowering plant that originated in North America. Blueberries grow on a bush; flowers pop up all over the bush and are pollinated by bees, with each blossom becoming one blueberry!
This video from True Food TV explains the interesting story of how blueberries grow!