Depending on who you ask, there are many different opinions around the dilemma of strawberries being a fruit or a vegetable. When looking at the structure and origin of strawberries, we can confirm that they are fruits, if only barely, since they come from the flowering part of the plant and contain seeds. In contrast, vegetable often have roots, stems, and the plants have more leafy parts.

The seed of the strawberry is actually the true fruit. The green, small pods that are fruits are called achenes. The red, juicy part of the strawberry is in the middle of the flower. It serves as a vine or branch from which other fruits would grow.

Strawberries can therefore be described as ‘inside-out’. The seeds are outside and the red flesh that actually holds the seed, are inside. So the actual fruit of the strawberry is unbelievably tiny.

Even though called a berry, unlike most berries, the strawberry plant has seeds on the skin rather than skin around the seed. This is because strawberries do not reproduce by seeds. As the fruit is developing, the plant sends out slender stringlike shoots called runners or clones. They grow close to the soil, sending roots into the ground. These roots then yield new plants that eventually bear fruit. Therefore the strawberry is a fruit, but not a berry.

Just to add to the confusion, strawberries are members of the rose family. The main reason for this is that strawberries have the same flower structure as roses. Both have a cup-like shape with five petals and oval-shaped leaves.

So there you have it! Who knew there were so many eccentricities and contradictions surrounding this well-loved summertime treat?

I am sure you will look at strawberries with different eyes from now on.