Is Strawberry A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

four red strawberries and a green (unripe strawberry) on a strawberry plant iwith much greenery.
© iStock.com/romiri

Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Updated: November 13, 2022

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For most of us the distinction between fruits and vegetables equates to sweet vs. savory – fruits are sweet and veggies are savory. This may explain why the majority of us classify strawberries as fruit. But is a strawberry a fruit? Continue reading, because what you discover might surprise you!

Freshly picked strawberries tumbling out of a wicker basket that's been turned units side for esthetic purposes. on a wooden table, outdoors, against a green out-of-focus background

An individual strawberry actually consists of multiple fruits!

©iStock.com/MariaUspenskaya

The Strawberry – The Fruit With Many Fruits!

Botanists refer to the strawberry as a pseudocarp, or an accessory fruit, due to the fact that a strawberry is in fact multiple fruits. One strawberry contains numerous little solitary fruits embedded in a succulent receptacle, as the red, fleshy part of the strawberry is known. Those tiny little hairs that give a strawberry its unique appearance and are often mistaken for seeds are the actual fruit! Figs and pomegranates are other examples of accessory fruits.

opened pomegranate with exposed fruits in from of two whole unopened pomegranates a wooden table

Pomegranates are another example of an accessory fruit.

©Gorenkova Evgenija/Shutterstock.com

Achenes – The True Fruits

It’s true! The actual fruits of a strawberry are the microscopic specks that are typically mistaken for its seeds. Not seeds at all, these minuscule fruits are actually known as achene. When achene are broken apart and examined under a microscope, the real seeds are revealed!  That’s correct, what most of us have been told are the seeds are actually the fruit!

macro closeup of red strawberry with yellowish/gold achene

What most of us have been told are the strawberry’s seeds, are actually the fruit!

©iStock.com/Oleg Prolat

Strawberries are comparatively high in fiber (thanks to the achenes) and also provide more than 70% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. Research shows that adding strawberries to your diet lowers the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol.

Why A Strawberry Is Not Really A Fruit

Botanically speaking, a fruit is only a fruit if its seeds are enclosed in its flesh. Strawberries are inside-out fruits, in that the actual fruit is unprotected by the crimson flesh into which they are embedded. The real seeds of the strawberry are microscopic, and are contained within the achene.

Is A Strawberry Even A Berry?

The Surprises never stop! Routinely mistaken for berries, strawberries technically aren’t berries at all! True berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, grow from a flower’s ovary and are made up of seeds encased in pulp. In contrast, the flowers of strawberries are made up of several ovaries fused into a single flower.

a singe blooming white petaled strawberry flower with a yellow with a patina of rain drops surrounded  by green leaves.

Strawberries are made up of several ovaries fused into a single flower.

©iStock.com/nicksus

Regardless of whether a strawberry is a true fruit or even a berry, one thing is for sure: strawberries are a delectable, luscious food! Although they aren’t exactly a fruit or berry, they are nonetheless nourishing and should be a staple, providing nutritious fiber and vitaminC to our bodies. So, the next time you bite into a strawberry, notice how it is a special, edible container of numerous fruits!

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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