Strawberry development

Patrick Elvander elvander at
Wed Dec 3 11:42:44 EST 1997

If you look closely, with a handlens or dissecting scope especially,
you'll notice that each of the hard little "seeds" on the surface of a
ripe strawberry appears to have its own stalk-like structure. These are
the stigmas and styles that attach to each ovary. Thus, these hard little
structures are actually fruits (ripened ovaries) and are called achenes
(indehiscent, one seeded fruits derived from one carpel). Because there
are a number of them in each flower, they are aggregated together--which
is how I remember what an aggregate fruit is. The sweet, red, fleshy thing
to which they are attached is indeed a modified receptacle and I never
cease delighting in letting my students know that "strawberries" are not
only NOT berries but aren't even a fruit (in the technical, scientific
sense) but VEGETABLES-defined as any edible non-reproductive or vegetative
part of the plant. Thus, a strawberry is also a FALSE fruit.
Of course, this leads to the discussion of just what a fruit vs a
vegetable actually is--any many thins we call "vegetables" are actually
fruits, eg., cucumbers, tomatoes, string beans.

	Patrick Elvander	Department of Biology
	Lecturer in Biology	Sinsheimer Labs
	408-459-3674		University of California
				1156 High St.
elvander at	Santa Cruz, CA  95064

On 3 Dec 1997, 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?
> Thank you for your help.
> Magaly
> Magaly Rincon-Zachary
> Dept. of Biology
> Midwestern State University
> 3410 Taft Blvd.
> Wichita Falls, TX 76308
> Ph: (940) 397-4254
> Fax: (940) 397-4442
> e-mail frinconm at

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