Strawberry development

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Wed Dec 3 12:31:34 EST 1997


At 10:06 AM -0500 12/3/97, Dr. Magaly Rincon wrote:
>Dear Plant-eders,
>
>I need help with my rusty plant anatomy.  I understand strawberry is an
>aggregate fruit and also a false fruit.  Can anybody explain to me the
>development of the strawberry fruit?  Does the fleshy tissue come from the
>receptacle?

Magaly,

I agree with you that the true fruit of strawberry is
an achene (a dry, indehiscent fruit).  The flower has
many unfused carpels which each develop into an achene,
thus it makes an aggregate of achenes. The achenes are
held together by an expanded receptacle that becomes
the accessory to the fruits. We enjoy eating this red
accessory.  Many of the receptacles develop a hollow
center (as do many stems) and in dissecting these in
class I often ask students if this area could properly
be called a locule.  This becomes a ponderous question
for many.  I am often dismayed by exam results when at
least a few students give strawberry as an example of
a plant that produces a true berry (a fleshy fruit containing
multiple seeds).  I often ask them about the tiny "hairs"
on the surface of the strawberry, or found in strawberry
jam.  Are they rat hairs? Yes there is a legal limit
to those in peanut butter! Nope, style and stigma.  The
other fun part to dissecting a strawberry is when the
students discover stamens between the sepals (hull) and
the receptacle. They are usually very excited that they
can identify a "male" flower part on a fruit.

ross

________________________________________________________________
Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479
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